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fFEEL that I owe the public some apology for 
venturing to intrude on their notice a book 
which must bear marks, evident to every reader, 
of hurried and careless composition. 

Thus conscious of my audacity, I humbly 
confess that when I started on my travels I had 
formed no intention of ever recounting them ; 
my notes and memoranda were therefore of the 
meagrest, although fortunately my sketch-book 
was pretty well filled. 

A letter from my publishers, received some six 
weeks after my return, first suggested to me the 
idea that possibly an account of my wanderings 
might not be uninteresting even to the general 
reader. Upon this hint I commenced to write, 
and in three short months from the receipt of my 

iv Preface. 

publishers' letter, I had despatched to them the 
manuscript and illustrations of " Travels in 
Ladak, Tartary, and Kashmir." 

For enabling me to do this in the scanty mo- 
ments of leisure which my duties allowed me, I 
have to thank, first, my memory ; secondly, the 
diary of a fellow-traveller ; and lastly, the able 
and interesting works of Bernier, Jacquemont, 
Moor croft, Grerard, and Cunningham. 

The proof sheets will be corrected by one of 
the companions of my journeyings, who will be 
in England in time to do so ; and you, my 
readers, will have yawned or laughed over, been 
bored or amused, by the perusal of my narrative 
long before the publication will meet its author's 

Henrt D. Torrens. 

Simla, in the Himalayas, 
Ma/rch 2nd, 1862. 


Page 99, last line, /or vid^e," read " vider." 
„ 100, line 1, for "un outre," read " une outre." 
„ „ „ 2, for ^' ce petite cascade," read " cette petite 

„ 107 „ 10, for " moeurs Thibetains," read "moeurs 

„ 179 „ 20, /or "a la mitre," rmc^ "a la mitre." 

„ 180 „ 4, ybr " il marmonne," " 11 marmotte." 

„ „ „ 5, ybr "reseoiblance," reac;? ''ressemblance." 

iv Preface. 

publishers' letter, I had despatched to them the 
manuscript and illustrations of " Travels in 
Ladak, Tartary, and Kashmir." 

For enabling me to do this in the scanty mo- 
ments of leisure which my duties allowed me, I 
have to thank, first, my memory ; secondly, the 
diary of a fellow-traveller ; and lastly, the able 
and interesting works of Bernier, Jacquemont, 



fWILL commence 
by introducing to 
my readers the dramatis 
per son (B who will, for the 
most part, figure in the 
foreground of the scenes 
I am about to picture to 

We were 
six white men 
^^'^^^in all,— Lord 

2 Travels in Ladak^ 

William Hay, Deputy Commissioner of Simla, 
and Superintendent of Hill States, wlio organ- 
ized the expedition, and by virtue of liis offi- 
cial position smoothed away many a difficulty 
from our path, and of whom, in the following 
pages, I shall speak as the " official friend ; " 
Major the Hon. T. de Y. Fiennes, 7th Hussars ; 
Captain Clarke, 1 9th Light Dragoons, photo- 
grapher to the party ; two gallant young Eifle- 
men. Lieutenant Buckley and Ensign the Hon. 
T. Scott ; and myself. 

Our intention was to march from Simla due 
north to Le, the capital of Ladak ; thence west- 
ward to Sreenuggur, the capital of Kashmir; 
thence in a south-easterly direction via Chumba, 
and Kangra back to Simla, — in all, a circuit con- 
siderably over one thousand miles. 

This scheme was carried out in its integrity 
by only two of the party, the others being 
obliged to leave us at different points along the 
route in order to join their regiments before the 
1 5th of October, on which day expired their re- 
spective leaves of absence. 

We went over no new ground : that is to say. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 3 

European energy had before explored every por- 
tion of our intended route ; still it was known to 
but few — to an enterprising shikaree {i.e. sports- 
man) or two, a still rarer scientific traveller, or to 
the persevering members of the Indian Survey 

For travellers who, like us, were anxious to 
see as much as possible in three short months, 
and were not disinclined to rough it, I can con- 
ceive no better route, leading us as it did through 
every vicissitude of Himalayan scenery, over 
the high table-lands of Thibetan Tartary, into 
the verdant vale of Kashmir, and so back 
through the tamer but scarcely less beautiful 
scenery of the lower ranges of the Himalaya, to 
the tea-planted slopes of the Kangra valley, at 
which point the traveller may consider his 
wanderings in what has been called the Alpine 
tunjab at an end. 

We were necessarily hurried, owing to our 
limited leaves of absence, and were therefore 
obliged to forego nearly all notion of sport. For 
on the Himalaya, and I believe all over the 
world, it is a recognised maxim, that in order to 

B 2 

4 Travels in Ladak, 

bag large game you must lialt ; but halt we could 
not, and many was tlie favourite haunt of ibex 
and wild sheep at no great distance from our 
route, which we were reluctantly obliged to leave 

A sportsman wishing to make the same tour 
as we did, ought in four, or still better, in six 
months, to make a capital bag without wander- 
ing very far from the actual track taken by us. 

Our servants were mostly Hill-men, the ex- 
ceptions being our C/ief de cuisine, Ali Bux, 
and our " Khitmutgars," or table servants, — all 
swarthy Mussaulmen of the plains ; also Mr. 
Terrear, or Terrear " sahib," as he was called by 
his fellow-domestics. A curious instance this of 
the influence of dress, mere dress ; they knew 
Terrear to be a man of low birth — of a caste 
which they despised — their inferior, in fact, 
according to native ideas ; he fetched and carried, 
had at times to sufier from the wrath of the 
Englishman, performed menial duties like them- 
selves, and worked ten times as hard ; but he 
wore his master's cast-off garments, and they 
called him " sir." 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 5 

A Madrassee by birth, a Christian in creed, 
and colloquially a fair English scholar, Terrear 
was invaluable. He was an old campaigner, too, 
having been servant to an English officer in the 
Crimea, and therefore no stranger to the hard- 
ships of cold and wet, or the mysteries of life in 
tents. On this expedition he was Captain 
Clarke's factotum, valet-de-chambre, keeper of 
the privy purse, nay, cook too, on sundry and 
not infrequent occasions when his master's appe- 
tite could not brook the long intervals in our (in 
his opinion) slowly recurring meals; and last, not 
least, packer of chemicals, and photographic 
assistant in general. 

I shall have occasion now and then to mention 
by name some of the other servants, so will here 
describe them. Bujjoo and Nurput rank first in 
the list, both vassals of the " official friend :" the 
former, bland and conciliatory, the latter, rude and 
energetic, represented in their respective persons 
a fair type of the two great principles, suaviter 
in modo and foriiter in re. These principles 
of action happily combined in the same man 
produce, we are told, executive perfection ; and 


Travels in Ladak^ 

so it was with them ; for actuated by the same 
wish, inspired by the same desire — the ensuring 
of their master's comfort, — this individuality of 
purpose made them, in fact, one, and produced re- 
sults as perfect; for when Bujjoo's smooth 
entreaties failed to coerce refractory " coolies,"* 
or beat down extortionate "bunniahs,"f was 
there not Nurput there — Nurput of the heavy 
hand and unscrupulous tongue, to bully into 
submission ? and again, when Nurput's violence 
had gone too far, and coolies showed symptoms 
of bolting, and bunniahs of sulkily shutting up 
shop, was there not Bujjoo there — Bujjoo the 
peacemaker, Bujjoo of the oily tongue, to re- 
strain, to quiet, and cajole into good humour? 

* Coolie, i. e., labourer. Coolie is a term used all over 
India for common labourers, as distinguished from artisans, 
and with this exception, includes all those who by the 
sweat of their brow earn their bread. In this narrative 
coolies invariably mean carriers of loads — in fact, our 
baggage animals. 

t Bunniahs, i.e., sellers of grain. These men form a 
guild apart, and the food of the natives consisting almost 
entirely of grain, the Bunniah's shop is to be found in 
every village, and is the public place of resort, where the 
infidelity of Ham Buccus, or the levity of conduct of Dil 
Jhan, is freely canvassed. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 7 

Chumpa, the pitcher of tents; Noura, the 
king of the coolies ; and my own head servant, 
Isree Singh, conclude, I think, the list of sub- 
ordinate celebrities worth chronicling. 

Our baggage was for the most part packed in 
" khiltas,"* and the whole of it carried on men's 
backs, so that we had daily to hire from the 


* " Khiltas" are cone-shaped baskets, covered either with 
leather or the undressed skins of sheep or goats, carried in 
the manner shown in the sketch. Those made expressly 
for Europeans are flat-bottomed, and have a wooden frame- 
work attached, which enables them to stand upright, and 

8 Travels in Ladak^ 

villages on our route some fifty or sixty men to 
serve as beasts of burden for the day's march. 
A. formidable number this for a but scantily 
populated country to supply, but thanks to the 
" ofiicial friend," and the exertions of the afore- 
said Bujjoo and Nurput, we had seldom any 
difficulty in procuring them. Besides, anticipat- 
ing delays of this nature, we had wisely provided 
ourselves with a reserve of coolies, in the shape of 
some thirty-five long-haired, sinewy-limbed, 
hardy Ladakhis, who marched with us the whole 
way, and to whose strong backs were confided 
our stores of provision, hatterie de cuisine, &c. 
— a confidence which was never betr?tyed, for the 
munitions de bouche were always among the first 
arrivals in camp, however long the march. 

These men formed the able-bodied portion of 
the inhabitants of a small village near Simla, 
occupied by emigrants from Ladak, who had 
been induced to leave their native wilds by the 
(comparatively) high prices given for coolie 

keeps them clear of the damp ground. The sticks shaped 
like a T, shown in the sketch, are used as a support to the 
khilta when the coolie is standing still. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 9 

labour in and about Simla. Their principal 
work consisted in bringing in from the forests in 
the interior, planks, heavy beams, and rough 
timber for building purposes. After loads such 
as these our burdens were light, and they walked 
away with our " khiltas," well filled though they 
were, as if they were knapsacks. Though not 
exactly suffering from the maladie du pays, 
nor indeed from any other malady, save perhaps 
hydrophobia, as far as regarded water for wash- 
ing purposes, they yet seemed glad at the 
thought of revisiting la patrie, especially as 
they were well paid for going there. 

Our tents were of the ridge-pole pattern, or, as 
they are called in India, pauls. They were 
six in number, — one served as mess tent, another 
housed the elite of the servants. Captain Clarke 
and myself had a tent a-piece, and our four com- 
panions doubled up in the two others. They 
were each of them, when dry, sufficiently light 
to be carried by one man, that is, the canvas part 
of them, the bamboo poles were tied in bundles, 
and formed two or three extra loads. 

We carried with us a supply of iron tent-pegs, 

10 Travels in Ladak^ 

a most necessary precaution, for wooden pegs 
soon split, and become useless after a little fair 
wear and tear ; and in treeless countries such, as 
Ladak there are no means of replacing them. 

A seventh tent there was, of dubious colour 
and uncertain shape, yet nathless a shrine 
of Art — nay, a very Temple of the Sun — de- 
voted as it was to Terrear and photography : 
here, uncomfortably coiled up, crouched amid his 
chemicals, that unhappy pluralist was wont to 
sleep the sleep of the weary. 

Having thus attempted to depict our expedi- 
tion, both as regards its physique and its materiel, 
I will, with the reader's leave, postpone our 
start to the next chapter. 

TEilPLh: OF Y""- sun. 



N a rainy morning in 
the middle of July, tlie 
official friend" and I turn- 
ed our backs on Simla, and 
trotting briskly along the 
New Eoad,* reached Mahasseo in time for break- 
fast. We were in the saddle again at two, p.m., 
and leisurely proceeded on our way towards Mat- 
tianah, a distance of some five-and-twenty miles 
from Simla. 

* Vide Appendix. 

12 Travels in Ladak^ 

We thus knocked three marches into one; 
and purposing to do the same next day, counted 
on overtaking the Major of Hussars and the 
photographer, who, together with our servants, 
baggage, and other impedimenta, had started 
some days previously. 

The rainy season was at its height; dense 
clouds of mist clung to the hill-sides, and clothed 
their summits with cowls of hodden grey, 
effectually concealing the beauties which on 
brighter days would have tempted us to linger 
on our road ; and after some five hours' alternate 
riding and walking, we were not sorry to reach 
the Mattianah dak bungalow, or post-house, as 
evening was closing in. 

Here we halted for the night, and renewed 
our march towards Narkundah at daybreak. 

Narkundah is justly celebrated for the mag- 
nificent view of the snowy range which the 
elevated ridge on which the dak bungalow stands 
(nine thousand feet) commands ; but on this 
tearful 18th day of July we were fated to see no 
such view. Thick curtains of cloudy vapour 
obscured the snow-white coverlid of the Alps 

Tartar 1/^ and Kashmir. 13 

wMcli slumbered in the far distance. On our 
right, old Huttoo, a pine- clad giant some twelve 
thousand feet high, at intervals showed his gloomy 
crest, but not liking the look of the weather, 
turned in again sharp, like a sensible old sluggard 
as he was. It was evident they all voted the rain 
a bore, and had decided on being " not at home " 
to our anxious inquiries. 

On leaving Narkundah we followed the New 
Eoad for some miles through a stately forest of 
lofty pine (the Abies wehhiana, called " Pin- 
drow" by the natives), of yew [taccus baccata), 
of oak {ilex) J and holly {quercus semicarpifolia) ; 
then turning to our left, we commenced a pretty 
steep descent towards the valley of the Sutlej, 
over which, at a height of about four thousand 
feet, hangs the village of Kotghur, and about 
one thousand feet higher the hospitable dwelling 
of Mr. Berkeley. 

This was our destination, and after about an 
hour and a half's rapid walking we found our- 
selves seated in his spacious verandah. Here, too, 
were our fellow-voyagers who had preceded 
us ; the photographer already at work with his 

14 Travels in Ladah^ 

camera, despite clouds and fog. He had brought 
his lens to bear on the mountain we hadjust de- 
scended, and was patiently waiting for a ray of 
sunshine which wouldnH come. 

Mr. Berkeley, or the model colonist, as the 
" official friend" called him, is a tea-planter, and 
the possessor of a considerable tract of country. 
He has been settled in the hills for some years, 
and is justly sanguine as to the results of his 
speculation. The Government has endowed him 
with limited magisterial powers, which he wields 
most judiciously, and is a living proof that the 
colonization of the lower hills of the Punjab by 
Europeans is not the mere chimera that many 
deem it. 

His mansion — a long two-storied building — is 
a happy combination of the bungalow* of the 
plains, with the imitation of English comfort 
aimed at, but never reached, by hill architects. 
A wide and lofty verandah runs completely 

Bungalow, — Anglo-Indian for house, unde derivatur, 
I know not ! but possibly so called from tlie sad bungles 
made by tlie Anglo-Indians of former days when they first 
dabbled in bricks and mortar. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 15 

round the lower story, and is repeated above on 
a smaller scale. This in the genial summer- 
time serves him as sitting-room by day and bed- 
room by night; and in winter, when he be- 
takes himself to the cosy inner rooms, forms an 
additional barrier against the cold. 

Next morning we sent on our servants and 
baggage to where, in the grey distance, our 
tents, already pitched, dotted the hill-side oppo- 
site — some five miles off only in appearance, but 
in very deed a weary twelve, for between us 
rolled, some thousand feet below, the rapid 
Sutlej ; and here and there, with the aid of a 
field-glass, we could see the interminable wind- 
ings of the tortuous path before us : but I 

It was a busy morning for the "official 
friend " — a shoal of intricate cases, beyond Mr. 
Berkeley's authority to settle, were awaiting the 
burr a sahib's^ fiat. 

The one which appeared to excite the greatest 
interest was a case of rent withheld ; a cloud of 
dusky witnesses attended, but I must say, very 

* i. e. Great Man, big-wig. 

16 Travels in Ladak^ 

few obtained a hearing. The great man's de- 
cision, most promptly arrived at, seemed to 
satisfy all parties, and they went on their re- 
spective ways rejoicing. The said rent amounted 
to one shilling (eight annas) paid triennially.^ 

The post which came in ere we left Mr. 
Berkeley's hospitable roof brought us a letter 
from Buckley and his brother rifleman. They 
had been delayed unavoidably, but would follow 
us by forced marches, and overtake us in no time. 
Deluded mortals ! They little knew what was 
before them. 

It was now high time for us to essay the 
rugged descent of which our field-glasses had 
given us a feeble notion, and after some five 
miles of stumbles varied by slips, and slips by 
stumbles, we reached the banks of the Sutlej. 

Have you ever, on the Sussex downs say, or 
in any chalky country, gazed in muddy weather 
from the top of a coach on the road beneath till 
the brain grew dizzy with the rush, and the roar, 
and the whirling motion, till to your deceived 
vision it was the road and its sickly-coloured 
* A fact. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 17 

mud that was gliding away from under you, not 
you over it ? If you have, you can easily call up 
the impression produced on me as I stood on the 
narrow wooden bridge which spanned the flood, 
and gazed below. 

It is of a hideous colour (caused by the wash- 
ings-away of the white soil of Kunawur, through 
which it flows many miles above), and altogether 
a most unlovely river ; but it inspires one with 
a strange sense of awe as its foul waters seethe 
below, fiercely cutting their resistless course the 
rocks between, for ever widening, for ever 
deepening their appointed way.* 

* Sutlej. The most remote sources of the Sutlej are the 
eastern feeders of the holy lakes of Manasaravora, in N. 
latitude 30° 35', and E. longitude 81° 35', from whence it 
flows for about 280 miles through a country but little 
known, to its confluence with the Spiti river. The whole 
fall of the Sutlej to this point is 9400 feet, or 33*8 feet per 
mile. It then takes a W.S.W. direction for 180 miles to 
Belaspore: in this part the fall increases to 39 feet per 
mile. From Belaspore it takes a circuitous course of about 
100 miles to Kopar, at the foot of the hills; from Kopar it 
flows past Loodiana in an easterly direction for 120 miles, 
where it receives the waters of the Beas river; thence in 
a south-westerly direction for 400 miles, when it receives 
the waters of the Chenab ; to this point its length is there- 



Travels in Ladak^ 

Born in the holy lakes of Manasaravora, he 
early leaps from their secluded lap, and roves a 
truant. From earliest infancy his steps are 
marked by a precocious wilfulness, and we must 
allow that from the cradle he experiences nought 
but the harshest treatment. He is soon joined 
by other wild young mountain water-sprites, un- 
tutored, uncared-for, and headstrong as himself ; 
and to him they cleave, recognising a master- 
spirit, and become his devoted slaves, and in him 
lose their very being ; and, behold ! the head- 
strong child is become a turbulent youth, — 
swifter and swifter runs his race of life — louder 
and louder roars the din of his revelry; he 
laughs aloud in his new-found strength, crying 
for space — more space, and finds it — finds it in 
the Punjab's arid plain. 

But this new phase of life is intolerable to 

fore 1080 miles; after this the united stream is called the 
Punjnud, a name derived from its containing the accumu- 
lated waters of the Sutlej, Chenab, Beas, Jhelum, and 

The Sutlej is considered to be the Hesudros or Zaradros 
of the Greeks, and the Hypanis mentioned by Strabo. 
It is the longest and the largest of all the Punjab rivers. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, ' 1 9 

liim, always shallow and superficial, with no great 
depth of character or channel, wedded for ever 
to the lean " ribbed " sand of India, who, 
warmest and most importunate of dames, holds 
him, despite his struggles, always, always, in her 
yellow arms : a sad change, this, from the fun of 
his tricksy childhood — the freedom of his gush- 
ing youth — the poor young man can't stand it 
any longer ; bored to death, he resolves on 
suicide, and dies self-immolated in the waters of 
the Indus. 

Eeaders of a geographical and matter-of-fact 
turn of mind, to whom this fancy sketch may 
appear unsatisfactory, will find a full, true, and 
particular account of the mighty Sutlej in the 
note, which has been compiled from sources the 
most reliable. 

The bridge over the Sutlej at this point is a 
noble one of its kind, formed of lengthy deodar^ 
beams, supported at either end by piers formed 
of mighty timbers wedged for half tneir length 
in the solid rock ; the other half stretches out 
over the gulf below, and is surmounted by other 
* Gedrus deodara. 

20 Travels in Ladah^ 

timbers, which overlap those on which they rest 
by some two or three feet ; these in turn are 


overlapped by others, and so gradually and 
cautiously the opposite buttresses yearn towards 
each other, and seem to strive to meet ; then 
come the lengthy deodar beams aforementioned, 
and span the length between. 

We had some misgivings as to whether our 
ponies would cross this somewhat perilous arch ; 
for though the footing was of a good breadth, the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 21 

low wooden parapet had on one side been stolen — 
for firewood, I presume ; at any rate, there it was 
not, and the loose timbers creaked and trembled, 
and the entire structure heaved with our weight. 

Our fears were, however, unfounded ; the 
little animals walked over the slippery planks 
without jib, shy, or stumble ; but smelling each 
successive board with a puzzled expression of 
countenance, walking " delicately " and with 
caution, and giving a heartfelt grunt of satisfac- 
tion on reaching terra Jirma. 

Here and there the valley opened out, and 
showed a strip of flat cultivation along the 
river's bank, where the rice crop paraded its 
beautiful but fever-boding green, flourishing 
luxuriantly ; and near a small village which we 
passed grew plantains and other shrubs native to 
the plains. 

The contrast between the climate of the 
valley and that we had just left, was most strik- 
ing ; fever-impregnated and pestilential, with an 
atmosphere oppressively close, the short time we 
took in crossing it was long enough to give more 
than one of the party a headache. This, how- 

22 Travels in Ladak^ 

ever, rapidly left us as the healthful breezes of 
the green hill-side, purer, cooler, and more brac- 
ing at every successive zig-zag of the precipitous 
ascent, fanned our cheeks. 

What a road it was ! Stairs ? Well, they 
might have been stairs once upon a time. 


planned by Titans when " children of a larger 
growth " had their being, and finished off and 
utterly done for by ages of snow-meltings, 
torrent-rushings, and that constant dripping 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 23 

of water which," we are told, "doth wear away 
the hardest stone ; but it was a road ! A road ? 
It was the road — the Jii(/h road, to— to — to Mos- 
cow ! Rien que ga ! And could we have foreseen 
and profited by another week's experience of hill- 
travelling, we should have called it "a fair 
mountain road!" But I try, reader, to give 
you my impressions of Himalayan travel as they 
first struck me. 

We reached the summit without an accident, 
thanks mainly to the activity of our ponies. I 
congratulated myself during the ascent that 
none were there to see, for anything more dero- 
gatory to the dignity of a lord of the creation, 
more humiliating to one's amour propre, than to 
be dragged up a precipice pendant to the tail of 
a shaggy mountain pony, is difficult to conceive. 
Por further particulars I refer the reader to the 
accompanying sketch. 

We reached our tents about two hours before 
nightfall ; they were pitched close to a large and 
tolerably well-built village, called Dilass. Our 
photographer, who, for artistic purposes, had pre- 
ceded us by some hours, vv^as there to receive us, 

24 Travels in Ladak^ 

and had caused, so lie said, a fatted lamb to be 
killed for our evening meal. The flesh was lean, 
indisputably, and the flavour somewhat rank — 
suggestive of kid of goat (if kid it was), or 
rather of a patriarch of that hirsute flock. We 
were too hungry for severe criticism; but one 
and all arrived tacitly at the determination that 
not again should our artist order dinner. No ! — 
ne sutor ultra crepidam — let him stick to his 

Serious doubts now began to suggest them- 
selves as to the probability of our loitering 
friends — the riflemen — catching us up, and at a 
council of war held after dinner, we decided 
that, in their favour, a very short march should 
be made on the morrow. Instead of Kot, 
Tchuhai, some seven miles ofi", should be our 

After further deliberation, it was finally settled 
that a tent should be left standing for them, 
and that in it should be placed some cold viands 
and one bottle of beer ! Eeader, we had 
but two dozen ! and so to bed, in that state of 
gratified self-contentment which the consciousness 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 25 

of having done something very good-natured 
never fails to create. Bnjjoo, too, had an- 
nounced that " chukor"* had been calling all 
round the camp ere our arrival ; so anticipations 
of a good morning's sport mingled pleasantly 
with our dreams. 

* The Francoline partridge. 


Travels in Ladak^ 

IT, Pat ! on the can- 
vas roof ! I open one 
eye, and on the hand 
which is drowsily rubbing 
the other, falls, cold and 
sudden, a heavy drop. 
Fitter, Patter ! I strive 
to remember where 
I am ! Pittest, Pat- 
test ! I am wide 
awake ! ! 

It is raining with 
a vengeance ! My 
mind is soon made 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 2 7 

up. Shooting on a morning like this is out of 
the question ; and after taking precautions to 
prevent my being disturbed by any more cold 
drops which my " fair, false" covering of canvas 
might treacherously permit to filter through 
unchallenged, I, without an effort, relapse into 
sweet unconsciousness, return to the land of 
dreams (whence my absence has not been re- 
marked), and there abide in peace till recalled to 
the damp realities of life by the entrance of the 
faithful Isree, who appeared followed by my 
"bheestie" (^. e. water-carrier), with water for my 
morning ablutions. 

The " burra sahib" was up — had already been 
consulting with Ali Bux on the subject of break- 
fast — the other sahibs showed symptoms of 
wakefulness — in a word, it was time to get up ! 
Such the substance of Isree's morning's salu- 

The rain had ceased, and we breakfasted in 
the open, while our servants struck the tents, 
packed the baggage, and dispatched them on 
coolie-back towards the next halting-ground. 

We had the day before us, and but a short 

28 Travels in Ladak^ 

march, so the ponies had a holiday, and we 
lounged lazily on, luxuriating in the bright sun- 
shine, doubly grateful after so gloomy a morn. 
Now content with the beaten track which wound 
up the acclivity before us, now leaving it, lured 
by the defiant call of black partridge or chukor, 
which abounded w^herever the hill- side afforded 
cover, or the narrow terraces of cultivation gave 
promise of a meal. 

We shortly reached the summit of the hill 
overhanging Dilass, and turned to take a last look 
at Mr. Berkeley's house, now far away, but clearly 
visible — trim, neat, and whitewashed — the out- 
post of British civilization. 

Our route now descended rapidly for a couple 
of miles, and then proceeded along the side of a 
well-cultivated valley, dotted thick with villages. 
One of these was the point fixed on as our halt- 
ing ground, and towards it we hurried, for again 
was the sky overcast, and rain-clouds imminent. 

Our tents were hardly pitched ere down came 
the storm, and from about four o'clock of this 
day, the 20th, to the morning of the 23rd, it 
rained with hardly an interval of sunshine 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 29 

worth the name. This we were, however, pre- 
pared for — it was only what we had a right to 
expect in the rainy season; and on the 21st 
and 22nd we trudged along wearily but hope- 
fully through the wet, knowing that in a few 
marches we should be out of its influence. 

Our halting-place on the 21st was Kot, a 
village beautifully situated on a rising ground, 
which would anywhere else be called a moun- 
tain, but compared with its surrounding alp, 
appeared to our rapidly enlarging intellects but 
a mole-hill — a conclusion to which we arrived 
after reaching its summit, bien entendu. 

It luas a lovely spot, for despite the miseries 
of wetted-throughedness, we yet took pleasure in 
remarking how above frowned pine-topped 
mountains, below stretched grassy glades, broken 
here and there into steep rocky declivities ; and 
how around us the cedrus deodora, the cedar of 
the Himalaya, bent his lofty crest and waved 
his graceful arms as though in stately courtesy. 
Stately courtesy, did I say ? Aye, so stately as to 
be quite chilling in its effects, for every wave 
of those graceful arms sent a shower-bath on the 

30 Travels in Ladak^ 

head of the unfortunate who trusted to them for 
shelter. It now blew a gale, and the tree-tops 
rocked before the blast, and we were not sorry to 
find an unoccupied habitation in the village, 
where we lit a mighty fire and essayed to dry 
our drenched habiliments. There we stood, 
steaming, dripping, round the crackling flames ; 
there was no chimney, and the wood-smoke 
gracefully accomplished its exit through the open 
door, mingling with the purer, bluer, curling 
wave that rose from our cheroots, circling round 
and round, till an eddy from the leaky roof 
caught and turned it reeling out into the wet. 

How good those cheroots were ! Enter Ter- 
rear, wobegone and half drowned, but a twinkle 
in his eye shows that there's a deal of work in 
him yet. From under his coat he produces a 
black bottle ! A momentary panic seizes us as 
the horrible suspicion suggests itself of some 
photographic acid drug ! 

" Would you honour like some whisky, sar ?" A 
simultaneous shout of joy rings through the 
tumble-down shed, startling into animation the 
shivering Hindoos outside. They peer in, and 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 31 

perceive — horrihile didu — the " official friend" 
with his lips pressed lovingly on the mouth of 
the black bottle ! There is no false modesty 
about that black bottle-ina; she sheds her 
favours on all alike, and " thrilled our very being." 
No, not " with the utterance of a name." Poor 
bottle-ina, bless her ! is dumb, though she shows 
a proper spirit at all times. So we'll say, if you 
please — she 

" thrilled our very being, with that sweet, long, mute caress." 

Meanwhile, the coolies have been arriving one 
by one, slowly but surely toiling up the hill, and 
as the tents came up, dank and sodden with 
the constant wet, Chumpa, stripped to his shirt, 
which clings to his rounded limbs like an upper 
skin, seizes them, and rapidly spreads them out. 
"Puthar, burra, burra puthar," is his cry as he in- 
serts one end of the stout bamboo pole into their 
languid folds. A heave, and up it rises ; but 
Chumpa has over-calculated his powers. Heavy 
with wet, the canvas droops and threatens again 
to collapse, when Nurput to the rescue, and with 
a rush, and a shout, and some very bad language, 
that useful vagabond catches the tottering 

32 Travels in Ladak^ 

canopy ! Two minutes more, and the close- 
packed mass of helpless canvas is a tent. A 
tent ? A home for a king. 

" Puthar, hurra, hurra puthar," cries Chumpa, 
and another tent rears its dripping form ; hut I 
crave pardon, reader ! you, happy in your 
"hlessed ignorance" of India, know not yet 
what " hurra, hurra puthar," means. I trust that 
" folly" will not he a necessary lien on the know- 
ledge that friend Chumpa is an economical 
varlet, and hoards his tent-pegs as though they 
were golden ingots. A tent rope coiled round 
a w^eighty stone is as secure as if attached to a 
peg, however well malleted down ; and to save 
his precious pegs, Chumpa used stones when he 
could get them. Now "hurra, hurra puthar," 
means " hig, hig stone" (suhauditur, hring), and 
so our tents were pitched. 

It grows late now, and in spite of whisky and 
cheroots, a still small voice from somewhere 
ahout the digestive organs makes itself heard, and 
" dinner ! dinner ! " is what it says. 

It was just the very day for Indian servants to 
outdo themselves : surround them with luxuries. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 33 

give tliem fireplaces, grates, ovens, and a park of 
batteries de cuisine, with meat the tenderest, 
and vegetables the most rare, and you will more 
than probably starve for want of a wholesome 
dish ; but put them in camp in rainy weather, 
with no such appliances, — say you want dinner, 
and you will get a feast ! 

I do not mean to deny that the enjoyment of 
dinner depends greatly on the sense of anticipa> 
tion; and that often when tlie chance of sub- 
stantial fare is a very shadowy one — when you 
begin to think that you will have to dine off a 
cigar, and sup a la belle etoile — an unex- 
pected meal, though intrinsically of villainous 
flavour, will delight your astonished palate, — 
simply because it comes a V improviste ; but 
allowing this, I will maintain that all Mahom- 
medan cooks, especially Ali Bux, cook better 
under difficulties than in clover. 

He had selected from our Ladakliis a scullion, 
the most ill-favoured menial that ever washed a 
plate. It was strange to see the two at work — 
to watch their antagonistic profiles bending over 
the flesh-pots ; Ali Bux, with his close-shorn 


34 Travels in Ladak^ 

classic brow; and Tom Sayers," so we called him, 
with brutish front and elfin locks : — the one tall, 
thin, stately, and aristocratic ; the other dwarfish, 
thick-set, clumsy, and low born ; Ali Bux, whose 


finely-cut aquiline features harmonized well with 
his glossy moustache and flowing beard ; Tom 
Sayers, whose plebeian want of nose equally 
well suited his thick, distorted lips, and coarse, 
unfruitful chin. 

The imherhis juvenis hadn't a chance, in 
point of good looks, with his elderly Mentor ; 
and I fancy it was in a great measure his sense 
of inferiority in this respect, which made him 
soon throw up the greasy appointments of 
scullion-general and deputy-turnspit, with the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 35 

pay and perquisites thereto appertaining, and 
take to "kliilta" carrying again. He soon got 
cheeky, monitor ib us asper ; prod ij/ us ceris he 
certainly was. It must have taken a lot of 
brass to beard that solemn follower of the Pro- 
phet ; and, as to cereus in vitium Jlecti, he 
was like the rest of us. We are all just as bad 
as you, Tom Sayers. 

The dinner bore out my expectations, and over 
its hot, savoury fragrance we vowed that Ali 
Bux was the Soyer of the East, forgot we had 
even been wet, and heard not the storm without. 

It rained all night, and the morning broke 
more unpromisingly than ever. 

Our road led us over the mighty shoulder of 
the Jilauri Mountain. At this it goes straight, 
without a swerve, without an apology for the 
extra exertion to which it is about to put you. 
No cunningly-devised zigzag is here to mask 
the difficulties of the way, and half-persuade you 
to lay the flattering unction to your soul that, 
after all, it is only a very gradual slope — long, 
perhaps, but very gradual. The stern reality 
stares you in the face without disguise; there 

36 Travels in Ladak^ 

is not the slightest attempt made to mitigate the 
incontrovertible fact, that up that infernal hill 
you must go, and what is more, you must go 

Rugged, steep, and stony in the best of 
weather, this uncompromising pathway naturally 
appears to the greatest advantage in rain like this ; 
when down it pours a very respectable rivulet 
(respectable, I mean, in size — its habits are those 
of a most hardened vagrant), carrying with it all 
the loose debris it has strength to move, laying 
bare and bringing out into bold relief all the 
stern points of its channel's character, and add- 
ino^ to the natural amenities of the route a 
greasy slipperiness which, as you may imagine, 
tends greatly to aid the traveller's progress on 
his upward way. 

But all things have an end, and there is a 
limit even to this interminable climb. A 
strangely- wild spot is the ridge on which you 
pantingly pause with a sense of labour o'er, of 
battle won ; to the left stretches higher and 
still higher the continuation of the ridge on 
which you stand, blackly frowning through the 

Tartary^ and Kashiiir. 37 

thick clouds which wreathe Jilauri's front. 
Below you sweep weird masses of grey vapour 
fleeing before the conquering wind, that ever 
and anon, with a sudden blast, rends them to 
tatters ; and peering through their scattered 
shreds, down beneath you, lo ! it is bright 
sunshine, and green crops ripen, and flat-roofed 
hamlets nestle, snug in the genial warmth, un- 
conscious of the mighty strife that rages so far 
above them. Once more the spirit of the mist 
rallies his scattered forces, and shoulder to 
shoulder, in serried rank, again they dare the 
headlong charge of the north wind's dread light 
cavalry ; and the glimpse of peace below is hid 
from you, and in its stead suggests itself a sense 
of individual discomfort, for, fascinated by the 
grandeur of the storm, and exulting in that 
strangely-exhilarating sense of height, you have 
for the moment forgotten that you are but a 
miserable pale face, laying in a stock of future 
rheumatism and neuralgia. Now a shiver shud- 
dering up from the soles of your laced-up boots 
to the crown of your drenched wideawake, re- 
calls you to your own poor common-place in- 

38 Travels in Ladak^ 

significant self, and you toddle down the other 
side of Jilauri with but one idea predominant, 
and that is, a faint hope that you ha,ven't caught 

The path down Jilauri towards the north- 
west, is, in comparison with its ascent from the 
south-east, quite a gentlemanlike means of 
communication, though strongly marked by the 
characteristic straightforward obstinacy of all 
the Kulu roads, which, as a rule, ignore the 
proverb, " The longest way round is the shortest 
way there ; " eschewing all divergence, they make 
straight for their destination, and great indeed 
must be the obstacle that turns them aside. 

The length of time which we took in reaching 
the bottom, showed almost more than the diffi- 
culties of the ascent, to what a height we had 
lately risen. (Jilauri is 11,300 feet above the 
level of the sea.) 

We were now leaving the realm of wind and 
mist further behind at every step. It still rained, 
but with a noiseless, gentle downfall — not as 
above, with a spiteful, angry scud. At last, too, 
the longed-for sun appeared, and at his smile 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 39 

Nature dried lier tears, and laughed him back a 
welcome. A rude wooden bridge, which spanned 
a brawling brook, swollen with the late rains, 
offered us an almost dry seat on its moss-grown 
railing, and there we basked in the sunlight and 
abused Jilauri.' 

It was no use going on ; we had outstripped 
the coolies, and tents and baggage were all 
behind, so there we sat and watched the long 
line of " weight carriers " as they struggled 
down the mountain-side, with cautious step and 

But who is this coming along at a steady run, 
with bent back, but active feet ? The coolies one 
and all make way for him as he rapidly passes 
them. As he draws near we perceive that he, 
too, has his burden — a small and light one, but 
carefully packed, and as carefully carried. He 
comes straight towards us, redoubling his pace, 
and makes obeisance ; but his panting salaam is 
rudely interrupted by the " official friend," who, 
snatching the man's bundle, tears savagely at its 
wax-cloth covering. To our questions he makes 
no audible reply, but shies at our heads j»o^r 

40 Iravels in LadaJc, 

toute rejjonse, Punches, Evening Mails, Saturday 
Reviews^ and, most welcome of all (with a mental 
reservation in regard to duns), letters from 
England ! 

It was the post ! 

Our halting ground, Jibeh, was about three 
miles on ; the path followed the brawling brook 
aforesaid, and our tents were pitched ere the rain 
again came on. Our servants crowded under 
the shelter of a Deota, or small wooden temple 
of picturesque shape, which stood close to our 

A " DEOTA." 

tents ; and altogether, the night of the 23rd 
was an improvement on that of the 21st. It 
still rained, but in a subdued manner, as if 
ashamed of itself. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 41 

The morning dawned without a cloud, and the 
tents were struck soon after. 

At the next two halts, Platch and Largi, are 
houses for the accommodation of travellers. This 
is a great advantage, enabling one to send on 
the tents independently to Bujoura, a distance 
of about five-and-forty miles. Two deep and 
rapid unbridged rivers have to be crossed be- 
tween Largi and Bujoura, rendering the absence 
of tents and all such impedimenta highly desir- 

The march to Platch is an easy one : the road 
continues to follow the brook, which increases 
rapidly in volume till, after about nine miles, it 
is joined by a good- sized mountain stream, 
which comes down from the high ground ; on 
the right their united waters form a stream of 
some magnitude, which runs straight down the 
valley to Largi. 

A well-built bridge of wood, of the same kind 
as that over the Sutlej, crosses the tributary 
from the right, and the road then follows the 
course of the stream to Largi. Platch is situated 
at the summit of a steep ascent to the right. 

42 Travels in Ladak^ 

Here stands tlie house we had been told of — a 
small, square, two-roomed building, swarming 
with flies. 

A funeral had crossed the road as we passed 
along. The body was swathed in white cloths, 
and carried on a rude bier of rough poles, in not 
the most reverential manner. The bearers went 
along merrily enough, nothing seemed to delay 
their rapid jog-trot, save here and there where a 
steep bit of ground made them go warily for 
their own sakes, or when the shoulders of one of 
them got tired, and he heaved his share of the 
load on to the shoulders of somebody else. 

Three musicians led the procession, which did 
not consist of more than a dozen people. A 
fiddle of three strings, a drum, and " ear-piercing 
fife," were their instruments. The music was 
hardly of a solemn character. The performers 
appeared to be on the best of terms with each 
other, but their instruments were " at daggers 
drawn." The fiddle could never have scraped 
more than a hoioirig acquaintance with the fife, 
who on his part must have resented even that 
slight attempt at familiarity as an insult, for 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 43 

they were now decided cuts ; and the drum, 
bored and distracted with their jarring notes, 
growled an " accompaniment" that was anything 
but agreeable. 

There was only one mourner, and he a comely 
lad, with an earnest, melancholy look in his 
large brown eyes. The bearers ran carelessly 
down the slope towards the river, jolting their 
ghastly burden till the gaunt limbs were shaken 
from their cere-cloths, and shocked the eye with 
their stark, unnatural postures. Then the boy 
with the melancholy eyes seemed to remonstrate 
with them, but unseemly jokes were his an- 
swer, and the shrill scream of the fife 
drowned his appeals. Poor boy! 

I watched the strange procession as it passed 
below, to where a strip of white sand stretched 
out into the meeting of the waters. Here was 
prepared a funeral-pile, from which soon arose a 
cloud of thick smoke. 

"We found on inquiry that the deceased was 
a zemindar, or landholder, in the neighbour- 
hood. The boy, his youngest son ; the bearers, 
elder brethren, friends, and kinsfolk. 

44- Travels in Ladak^ 

At Platcli we parted from our ponies, for 
whom the unbridged rivers in our front were 
obstacles insuperable. Thej started for a ford 
higher up, and would get, we were told, to 
Bujoura before us. 

It is a weary walk to Largi — a weary six- 
teen miles along a narrow gorge shut in on 
either side by high rocky cliffs, whose base 
stood in the mountain stream which foamed 
along beneath us. I looked back shortly after 
starting, and on the small white strip of sand the 
zemindar's funeral-pile still smouldered. A soli- 
tary figure sat beside it. Poor boy ! he 
must have passed an awesome vigil — black sky 
above, on this side and on that black waters 
rushing past, and his sole occupation the some- 
what strange one of keeping papa alight. The 
sun beat fiercely down on our stony path, which 
reflected back his rays with a furnace-like heat 
and glare ; but it was not as bad as the valley of 
the Sutlej, for now and then came a grateful 
breeze fresh from the snowy peaks which showed 
white in the far distance against the blue sky. 

At Largi, a long low building, with a rude 

Tar tar and Kashmir. 45 

verandah, guiltless of a door or window, was 
our shelter for the night. 

We had a long day's work before us. Early 
to bed and early to rise was the order, and at 
five o'clock next morning we were at the river's 
bank, superintending the passage of the baggage 
by a "jhula," or rope bridge. 


46 Travels in Ladak^ 

The sketch gives a better idea of the reality of 
a rope bridge than 'any word-painting can. 
Every item of our property had to be slung 
over separately, in the manner depicted, and 
everything reached the opposite bank in safety. 
In fact, there is no danger so long as the ropes 
hold ; you are tied firmly into your seat and re- 
main passive and powerless during the operation. 
The sensation is not a pleasant one, especially 
when you are kept pendant in the middle to be 
photographed, as befell me ; barring the sense of 
choking, and the wrench to your neck, it must 
be very like hanging. My Jack Ketch left me 
dangling in mid air for something like two 
minutes to give, forsooth, an air of interest to 
a photograph. I have sat for my portrait, but 
never sat I so still ; remonstrance I knew was in 
vain, for the roar of the torrent beneath would 
have drowned the cries of a Boanerges. 

My poor goats ! they struggled vehemently 
for the first few seconds, but a glance below con- 
vinced them of the inutility of resistance. Re- 
alizing at once the horrors of their helpless posi- 
tion, they stoically resigned themselves to their 

T aviary^ and Kashmir, 47 

It was tedious work watching the transit of 
other people's baggage, especially when there 
seemed to be no chance of an accident ; so, 
having seen oiir own traps safely deposited on 
the right bank of the river, the Major and I 
strolled on up the path you see in the sketch, 
to where we hoped to find breakfast laid in some 
shady spot. 

We had now, as it were, left the provinces, and 
were rapidly approaching the metropolis; be- 
fore us spread the fertile valley of Sultanpore, 
the capital of Kulu. Our entrance into it shall 
be recorded in the next chapter. 


Travels in LadaJc^ 


.^.^fHE Major and I 
strode sturdily on 
till a sudden turning of 
tlie pathway displayed 
to us the welcome spec- 
ft-,iacle of Ali Bux and 
Tom Sayers, surrounded 
by simmering tea- 
kettles, breakfast- 
cups, and savoury 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 49 

Another minute, and we were reclining in a 
state of indescribable beatitude, tended on by 
willing slaves, who proffered first, a light for our 
cigars ; next, a hot, fragrant cup of tea ! It was, 
barring the ladies, a pagan's paradise. But here 
they come, tripping a-down the path before us, 
a laughing bevy of women and children, not 
houris, exactly, but country-folk of all ages ! 
And here it strikes me that though we have been 
some six days in this fertile province of Kulu, not 
one word have I said anent its inhabitants. Let 
me commence by describing the merry party that 
is approaching us. 


Their features are good, generally, and of that 
type of which the children are pretty, the girls 
handsome, the mammas sternly featured, and the 

50 Travels in Ladah^ 

grandmammas positively hideous. Look at that 
group — child, girl, matron, hag; all are there, 
and yet perhaps not one of them has seen thirty 

There is one striking peculiarity about their 
dress : they " wear the breeches ! " whether in 


token of domestic supremacy, I know not, but it 
is possible that no such deep significance lurks 
in the costume, and that they are worn for 
purposes simply of warmth, comfort, and de- 
cency. However, I feel that it is out of place in 
pages professedly superficial to discuss a question 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 5 1 

so grave ; we will therefore, if you please, leave 
it for the next scientific traveller to solve. 
Meanwhile, let me impress on you the fact — they 
one and all wear breeches ! 

And very nice ones they are — of silk 
frequently, and of a peg-toppy cut ; above, very 
voluminous, but contracting from the knee 
downwards, till they fit tight over the slim 
ankle, and end just where a massive anklet of 
white metal confines the graceful limb, thus 
showing the whole of (generally) a very small 

So tight are they at the ankle, that how they 
ever get them on is a puzzle. The Major sug- 
gested that perhaps when once on they never 
take them ofi* ; but I trust, reader, that you will, 
with me, scout such an idea as an unwarrantable 
and malicious suspicion. 

A chemisette with short sleeves, and reaching 
below the waist, covers the upper part of their 
persons ; but it is in the head-dress that most 
scope for a display of taste is given : their hair, 
plaited into one long tress, is wound round the 
head in turban-like folds, and looped up over a 

E 2 

52 Travels in Ladak^ 

little black flat hat of woollen clotli with, a 
turned-up rim (a pork-pie hat, in fact), which is 
worn either demurely straight, or coquettishly 
on one side, according to the caprice of the 
wearers ; and to give a certain piquancy to the 
charms of this little hat, a little tassel is added. 
Picture to yourself a bright-eyed, well-featured, 
nut - brown face peeping from under this 
coiffure," and agree with me that the effect is 

The nut-brown complexion is a good lasting 
colour, that the sun does not freckle by day nor 
the frosts chap by night, but it is not proof 
against the crows'-feet of Father Time — wrinkles, 
alas ! begin to show themselves ere girlhood is 
past 1 

I regret to say that they are apt to feign a 
luxuriance of hair which does not exist; but 
they do it in so ingenuous a manner that you 
forgive them ; the skeins of brown worsted with 
which they lengthen their dark tresses are so un- 
mistakeably brown worsted, that out of sheer 
pity for the transparency of the attempt at 
imposture you forgive it. In fact, I own to 

TaiHary^ and Kashmir. 53 

some slight compunction of conscience in thus 
betraying these frailties to their European 
sisters. But let me make amends by de- 
claring it to be my firm opinion that they do it 
with no wish to deceive ; that it is as much a 
custom with them to wear brown worsted ends 
to the glossy tresses, as it is to wear silk con- 
tinuations of masculine cut. 

I also regret to say that nose-rings and goitres 
are both very prevalent. 

Moorcroft says that " the common garb of the 
poorer classes is little else than a blanket, which 
is first wrapped round the waist ; one end is 
brought over the shoulders, and fastened across 
the breast with skewers, and the other is passed 
round the thighs, and secured to the waist ; the 
legs and feet are bare.*' Some of our coolies 
answered this description exactly, but it is but 
right that I should add that they were all of the 
male sex. 

The well-to-do men wear little flat hats like 
the women, woollen peg-top trousers, and a 
sort of woollen smock-frock, fastened round the 
waist with a girdle — a most sensible and com- 

54 Travels in Ladak^ 

fortable costume; in cold weather, a blanket 
worn as a plaid does duty as a great-coafc. 

But on seeing us the laughter of the merry 
group has ceased, and they try to pass as if they 
didn't know we were looking at them ; it is only 
the children — bless their honest eyes ! — who 
honour us with a good stare. Our knicker- 
bockers, however, are too great a novelty to be 
passed quite unnoticed, and I catch one young 
lady, with sidelong glance, taking mentally a 
pattern of my nether garments, with a view, 
doubtless, to an interview with her milliner on 
her return home. 

Now " coolies" begin to pass us in rapid suc- 
cession, and soon up come the " Official Friend" 
and the photographer, Terrear bringing up the 
rear, acting for the nonce as baggage guard, and 
whipping up the stragglers. 

Their arrival is the signal for breakfast : it is 
soon despatched, and Ali Bux is ordered to 
hurry on, for we have many miles to go and 
another river to cross before nightfall. 

The scene before us was a most lovely one ; 
we looked straight up a green valley some two 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 55 

or three miles broad, which stretched away till 
the eye could no longer distinguish where its 
fertile slopes ended, or where the mountains 
which bounded it began ; above these again rose 
peaks so unearthly in their purity, that but that 
they moved not, we should have called them 

Glittering down the centre of the valley rolled 
towards us the Beas river, — now broad, still, and 
placid as a lake — now confined in a narrower 
channel, racing on with rush and roar till it 
entered a deep gorge on our left ; here it seemed 
so to curtail its fair proportions that it was 
difficult to persuade oneself that this narrow, 
dark, smooth stream was the same as that which 
just now seemed to fill the valley with its broad 

" Still waters run deep such the solution of 
the puzzle. 

In about another mile or two it fell in with 
the stream we had just crossed, and turning sud- 
denly to the right, swept on towards the plains. 

Author, loq. (who has evidently been studying 
the Friend of India). — " What a glorious valley 

56 Travels in Ladak^ 

Where could Government find a better place to 
try tlie experiment on a grand scale of European 
military colonization?" 

Official Friend.—'' Where, indeed ? but ' first,' 
as Mrs. Glass says, ' catch your hare.' The land 
is not Government's to give. Look around you 1 
All available land is already under cultivation — 
every inch of it belongs to native proprietors, 
who, as you perceive, make very good use of it. 
There is not room for the European." 

Author. — " Wliere is the difficulty ? Purchase 
the land, offering ample compensation to the 

Official Friend. — " But the land is not for sale ; 
and it would be an act of arbitrary tyranny, only 
to be excelled by actual ejectment, were Govern- 
ment to insist upon the sale of this people's 
paternal acres. No ! if Government wants to 
colonize, the only thing to be done is to pur- 
chase from the native proprietors whatever land 
there may be in the market, and to retain for 
disposal to settlers, as required, all ' lawaris! " 

Author (completely puzzled). — " What the 
deuce do ! — pardon me — I would say, what is the 
meaning of the term 'laivaris?' " 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 57 

Official Friend (with a benign smile, and in an 
instructive tone). — " ' Lawaris' means land going 
by default of heirs, to which Government has 
as yet rarely, if ever, asserted its right, being 
content to make over such estates to any one 
with the shadow of a title to them, or, in default 
of a claimant, to the first person who might offer 
to guarantee the Government assessment." 

"But," continued the Ofiicial Friend, "the 
only land, as far as my experience goes, thus 
available, is forest land, uncleared, and at a high 
elevation ; the fact of its being uncleared is in 
itself a formidable obstacle to the settler, and 
the fact of its high elevation a still more difficult 
one to surmount, for it is above the possibility of 

" ^N'ow want of water is the principal difficulty 
which native cultivators in the Himalayas have 
to fight against — there is a great deficiency of 
water at above a certain, and that a very low, 

Author.—'' The cultivation of tea does not re- 
quire much water; potatoes, too." 

Official Friend.— '' Granted ; but the cultiva- 

58 Travels in Ladah^ 

tion of tea requires capital, which your European 
military settlers have not got ; and as for pota- 
toes, natives will always be able to undersell a 
European who attempts to grow them with a 
view to making a livelihood thereby. I can't 
see myself how a retired soldier, settled on a 
piece of land which he may do what he likes 
with, can make a livelihood; but grant that 
it is possible, will he do so ? A retired soldier, 
freed from the restraint and discipline of a regi- 
ment, is not likely to work very hard. Military 
life in India tends no doubt to the formation of 
idle habits, and a pensioner is a man jealous of 
control, not well disposed towards the natives^ 
and not unfrequently addicted to the bottle," 

Author (who does not like to hear his cloth 
abused by a civilian who cannot possibly know 
anything about it). — "Oh, pardon me! I can 
name instances — look at So-and-so, &c. — all re- 
spectable members of society, hard- working and 
well-conducted !" 

Official Friend. — "I do not deny it. But the 
men you speak of are not agricultural colonists, 
living far away from the rest of their country- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 59 

men; they are artisans carrying on thriving 
trades in European stations, and themselves 
employing a great deal of native labour. They 
are, besides, exceptional cases. / speak of your 
average soldier, and I am right in my estimate 
of him. 

" In fact, I think myself that Government 
would commit a very serious political error if it 
goes out of its way to induce European soldiers 
to settle as agriculturists ; the chances of success 
appear to me so slight, the attendant difficulties 
so great, that though Government is bound to 
afford every assistance to the man who has made 
up his mind to seek a fortune as a settler, it 
should be, at the same time, exceedingly cautious 
not to encourage hopes which are so unlikely to 
be realized. 

"Then the settler must marry ! Whom? Whom 
but a native woman ? Not one in ten can hope 
to take to wife an English woman. Not a very 
pleasant prospect for the philanthropist to con- 
template, especially when he gives a thought to 
the character of the consequent progeny. 

What greater curse can befall a country than 

60 Travels in Ladah^ 

to be overrun by a race of half-breeds — endowed 
with all the bad, deficient in all the good 
qualities of the parent stock ? 

" Again, suppose the settler married to a white 
woman ! What a fatal country is this for the 
children of European parents. We have been 
now one hundred years in the country, yet there 
is not one recorded instance of a third genera- 
tion — the descendants of Europeans."* 

Author (shifting his ground). — " But in Java ?" 

Official Friend. — " Java I Oh, I am ready to 
admit that the system of culture obtaining in 
Java would alter the case very much, for by it 
Government can compel the native landholders 
to devote a certain portion of their holding to 
the cultivation of sugar, tobacco, tea, &c. This 
system has doubtless its advantages, and would 
unquestionably create a larger demand for com- 
mon European labour ; but then Government 
must be prepared to do what it does in Java — to 
bind itself to purchase a certain portion of the 

* Vide Dr. Chivers on " Means of Preserving Health of 
Europeans in India." — Indian Annals of Medical Science^ 
January, 1859, page 380. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 6 1 

produce at a certain rate^ to make large advances 
without interest to European and native specu- 
lators for the purchase of machinery, &c. &c., 
without which the said produce would be of no 
value. But such interference with the native 
landholders is opposed to our practice, and re- 
pugnant to English ideas generally." 

Author (beaten at all points). — " Then you are 
of opinion that it is only by the cultivation of 
exportable products — such as tea, &c. &c., which 
requires a considerable outlay of capital to com- 
mence with, that European colonists can thrive 
in the hills ? " 

Official Friend. — ''HimalayaSy mind ! not Neil- 

Author. — " In the Himalayas ; and as military 
colonists have no capital, European military 
colonization is a myth ! eh ?" 

Official Friend (slowly and sententiously). — 
" Q.E.D. But we must make a start ; it's time 
to be moving." 

After a walk of some miles we ascended to the , 
bank of the Beas, where another novelty in river 
transit awaited us. 

62 Travels in Ladah^ 

About thirty natives, stripped to the skin, 
each provided with a deri, or inflated buffalo 


hide, were busily paddling our servants and bag- 
gage across the stream, here of great breadth, 
and running with a current so rapid as to carry 
the paddlers some distance down ere they reached 
the opposite bank ; then, shouldering their hides. 


Tartary^ and Kashmir, 63 

they marched up the side to a point a good way 
above, and entering the water again, paddled 
back for a fresh load. 

Such quaint, odd, shapeless things ! and yet 
not without a semblance of the live buffalo they 
once kept warm. Once in the water they lose all 
originality of expression, and are so evidently in 
their element, and at their ease, that you trust 
yourself to their buoyant backs without hesita- 
tion. But watch them emerging dripping from 


the stream ! See the feebly pompous, and help- 
lessly inflated air with which they mount their 
owners' backs ! Centaurs reversed, pawing the 

64 Travels in Ladak^ 

air with nerveless stumps of legs, and solemnly 
nodding and bowing to each other as the ferry- 
men stop to chat, and you can hardly persuade 
yourself that they are not alive ! 

I have never seen anything to compare with 
them in monstrous absurdity — save perhaps the 
strange specimens of the insect world that the 
microscope discovers in every drop of water. 

Poor beasts ! It is sad to reflect that how- 
ever perfect their health may have been when 
alive, their hides are doomed inevitably to con- 
stantly recurring and frightfully severe attacks 
of flatulency I 

Moorcroft gives so good an account of them 
that I will quote him. 

" The skins used for this purpose are those of 
bullocks, which are stripped ofi* in this manner. 
An incision is made in the back part of a hind 
leg, almost the whole length ; and the skin being 
flayed ofi" from the hock upwards is turned for- 
wards, the same management being observed as 
in the process technically termed casing a hare, 
except that the skin is cut through below and 
round the knees and hocks, the legs being left 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 65 

adhering to the body. The hide is then doubled 
up and buried for a few days, in order to suffer 
so much decomposition as will favour the sepa- 
ration of the hair, which is rubbed off by the 
hand, or a blunt wooden knife, without abrasion 
of the skin. The skin is then turned inside 
out, and the natural openings of the eyes, &c., 
stitched up : it is then turned back again, and 
the main incision sewed up with thongs of raw 
hide. The open ends of the limbs are tied, 
except one, which is left open as a tube by 
which to inflate the skin. The thin tar procured 
from the deodar and other species of pine, is 
then poured into the skin, and shaken about in 
it until the flesh inside is well charged with it, 
and it is then tanned exteriorly by steeping it 
in an infusion of pomegranate husks. When 
required for use the waterman blows into it 
through the hind tube, and ties up the opening. 
A double thin cord is fastened round the inflated 
skin, across which the waterman places himself 
on his chest, holding the string with his left 
hand, whilst with his right he manages a short 
oar, assisting his passage with his hands and 

66 Travels in Ladak^ 

feet. Sometimes a piece of stick is tied in one 
of the legs, and left projecting from it for the 
waterman to hold instead of the string. The 
passenger, with as much baggage as he can 
carry, sits astride the ferryman's back, with his 
knees bent, and resting on the skin. Wlien 
heavy and bulky articles are to be transported, 
two skins are brought together, the ferryman of 
each laying hold of one of the projecting legs 
of the other skin, and a frame or raft sup- 
porting the burden, lies across the backs of 
both : a charpai, or Hindoostanee bedstead, forms 
the most convenient raft. Horses and mules are 
led over, the waterman holding them by a string 
in one hand, whilst he paddles himself and his 
human load across in the manner above described. 
When not inflated, the skin is slung over the 
back, and carried about without any inconve- 
nience. No expedient seems equally well adapted 
for the transport of large bodies of men and 
baggage over the most rapid rivers, or so 
likely to be serviceable as a wreck-buoy or float, 
to be carried on board ship. The cost of a ' deri' 
is usually a rupee and a half (tliree shillings). 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 07 

and its weight not above sixteen pounds. A 
couple of deri-men usually accompany persons of 
rank hunting in the hills, in order to carry them 
across the mountain-streams, the rapidity and 
fury, if not the depth of which, render it impos- 
sible to ford them without such assistance." 

The Major and myself stripped and bathed a 
little higher up. We told each other that it was 
very jolly, and that we enjoyed it immensely; 
but our shivering limbs and chattering teeth 
gave the lie direct to our protestations. It was 
snow-water, not long emancipated from its parent 
glacier ! — I shudder as I write ! 

A few miles more and we reached our tents, 
pitched close to Bujoura, a small village com- 
manded by a fort now in ruins ; but it must for- 
merly have been a place of some consequence. 
Moorcroft, who saw it some forty years before, 
calls it " a large square fort belonging to Kulu. 
It consists of square towers connected by a low 
curtain, the whole built of hewn stone, strength- 
ened with beams of fir." And no doubt in 
those days, before our occupation of the country, 
afforded a great protection to the Ladak mer- 

F 2 

68 Travels in Ladak^ 

chants from robbers and other illegitimate leviers 
of black mail, and at the same time checked 
smuggling and enforced the payment of the then 
Government's tolls. 

Chumpa met us with a broad grin on his honest 
face ; but to our inquiries about the ponies he 
could give no satisfactory answer — they hadn't 
come ; that was all he could tell us. 

Not far from our encamping ground some 
enterprising speculator had commenced a tea- 
plantation : a melancholy Baboo, whose tent was 
pitched hard by, superintended its cultivation. 
His desponding air seemed to have affected the 
plants, which drooped their heads in sickly guise, 
a sad contrast to Mr. Berkeley's healthy shrubs. 

That night, fatigued by the long day's work, 
the "Official Friend" and our artist retired to 
their tents betimes, leaving their two companions 
meditatively smoking the pipe of eve. 

" Do you know," said the Author, " those were 
monstrous sensible remarks of Hay's about colo- 
nization ; and though, of course, it's utterly ridi- 
culous for a civilian to halloo ! where are you 


Tartary^ and Kashmir. 69 

The Major (sidling towards the tent door) — 
"Oh, monstrous sensible remarks! — ar — ar — 
good night ! — mons'ous sensible." (Exit preci- 

Author (solus) — " Well, it is devilish odd that 
whenever a fellow wishes to have a little rational 
conversation " (Exit grumbling to bed.) 

I trust, reader, that our conversation of this 
morning did not bore you as much as it evidently 
had done the Major. 

"feebly pompous, and hopelessly inflated." 

Travels in La dak ^ 

to Le. By this route, Nurpur, 
Umritsar, and Loodiana receive 
their shawl- wool, and by it they 
send back in return their ma- 
nufactured shawls and worked 
stuffs. The main road branches 
off to these manufacturing 
towns at a place called 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 7 1 

Mundi* (the market), or Mandinagur (market- 
city), on the Beas river, about five-and-twenty 
miles to the south-west of Bujoura. 

From Bujoura a march of about nine or ten 
miles took us to Sultanpore, otherwise called 
Kulu, and the capital of the province of that name. 

The road is a good one, and appears to be kept 
in good repair. It passes between a youthful 
avenue of trees, which already afford a grateful 
shade, and is crossed in two places by branches 
of the Serbari river, a considerable feeder of the 
Beas. At the confluence of these two streams, 
a little higher up the valley, Sultanpore is built, 
in the angle formed by their uniting waters. 

It is not an imposing metropolis, though pos- 
sessing an upper and a lower town, the former 
being inhabited mainly by artisans and shop- 
keepers, while the latter exhibits a few houses of 
a more pretentious appearance. We were lodged 
in the lower town, in a sort of square formed by 
the buildings formerly occupied by the Eajah, in 
old days, when Kulu possessed one. 

I pitched my tent on the greensward which 

* Vide Cunningham's Ladak, page 153. 

72 Travels in Ladak^ 

carpeted the little square ; but ni}^ companions 
agreed to pass the night in a sort of alcove, 
which appeared in its palmy days to have served 
as a hall of audience, where the Eajah was wont 
to sit in state and hold his mimic court. 

Next morning, however, I found their beds 
out in the open, and pitiable was the description 
of their night's un-rest, to the truth of which 
their blotched faces, half-closed eyes, and swollen 
arms were silent yet most eloquent witnesses. 
Directly the lights were out, the quondam hall 
of audience had swarmed with little visitors, 
whose appearance was as unwelcome as their 
entrance was unceremonious. If their object 
was ejection they certainly succeeded ; for soon 
the beds were ordered out into the verandah — 
a species of half-measure which was far from 
satisfying the conquerors, or appeasing their 
wrath; so orderly a retreat was no adequate 
acknowledgment of their victorious stings. 
Bent on a total rout, down swarmed again the 
insatiable foe, and again were my discomfited 
friends forced to seek safety in flight. 

We made an early start, and breakfasted half- 

Tartai^y^ and Kashmir. 73 

way, our road still following the course of the 
Beas, which is here confined to a narrow channel ; 
but as we approached our halting-ground, the 
valley again opened out and gave it elbow 

We camped on the right bank of the stream. 
Opposite us, about half-way up the mountain- 
side, was a large building, which we were told 
was the summer residence of the Assistant Com- 
missioner of Kulu. 

We were diffident of taking him by storm with 
so large a party ; and, after a council of war, 
decided on sending a deputation of one to wait 
on him. The most eligible for the office of our 
ambassador, or representative, ^2i'^,facile pri7iceps^ 
the Photographer, and for many reasons ; he was 
the best dressed 1 This fact was ascertained 
beyond a doubt by an inspection of his ward- 
robe. He possessed a vehicle ! (a sort of palan- 
quin, called in the hills a " dandy and there- 

* One of the five rivers of the Punjab. It is the 
Hyj3hasis of the Greeks. From its source in the Rotang Pass 
to its confluence with the Sutlej at Hariki- Patau, its 
total length is 350 miles. 

74 Travels in Ladak^ 

fore need not walk, to which ignominious mode 
of procedure the rest of us were doomed. And 
over and above certain personal qualifications 
which eminently fitted him for the task of 
Mercury, he had the honour of a slight previous 
acquaintance with the said Assistant Commis- 
sioner. So without a dissentient voice he was 
elected our delegate. 

After an elaborate toilette, at which we all 
assisted, our artist departed, deeply impressed 
with a sense of the importance of his mission, but 
bearing himself bravely, like a man who did not 
shrink from its responsibilities, final instructions 
ringing in his ears, such as — " Now, mind 1 we're 
in a state of abject destitution — no beer ! and 
only one bottle of sherry ! ! — bread and fresh 
butter urgently required ! for an invalid, you'd 
better say," roared a voice of stentorian power ; 
" in fact, the smallest alimentary trifle will be 
gratefully received, and, only you needn't say 
so, ravenously devoured," &c. &c. 

It would require a pen dipped in ''imperial 
purple " to do justice to the triumph of his 
return. Behold him, seated on a borrowed 

Tartar]}^ and Kashmir, 7 5 

pony, full of luncli, and the proud consciousness 
of having done his duty, loud in praise of the 
courtesy of his host and the urbanity of his 
hostess, and pointing with a pardonable pride at 
two slaves who followed him, staggering beneath 
the weight of creature comforts. It was a very 
Cornucopia that now poured out its riches on 
the grass before us. 

Next morning brought us tidings of our 
ponies. They had arrived in Sultanpore, but in 
so sorry a plight, so battered, bruised, and foot- 
sore, that we did not order them to follow us ; 
but, sending back for our saddles and bridles, 
directed the grooms to remain at Sultanpore till 
their poor charges had recovered from the effects 
of their mountain travel, and then to proceed by 
easy marches to Belaspore, on the Sutlej, where 
we hoped to meet them on our return home- 
wards in October. 

We called next day, en route, as in duty bound, 
on our good Samaritans, the Assistant Com- 
missioner and his wife, from whom we gained 
much valuable information regarding our road ; 
we also petitioned for a repetition of their good 

76 Travels in Ladak^ 

offices in favour of our two poor Riflemen, wlio 
were doing their best to overtake us. 

After a short march of about eight miles we 
halted at Jug-et-sook, a small village, where is a 
good-sized bungalow for the accommodation of 
travellers. Since leaving Sultanpore we had 
been gradually ascending, and now found our- 
selves at an elevation of six thousand feet, and 
one march from the foot of the Rotang Pass. 

The character of the country through wdiich 
w^e had for the last two days been passing was 
one of unvarying beauty — the great feature of 
the landscape being the Beas River, which, with 
its frequent tributaries, keeps the valley always 
green. Cultivation is pushed up the slopes of 
the mountains on either side by means of a 
series of terraces supported by rough stone walls, 
having the appearance, at a distance, of gigantic 
flights of stairs. When the hill-side becomes 
too steep for agricultural purposes, its green 
slopes afford abundant pasturage to vast flocks of 
sheep and goats. At intervals of two and three 
miles, well-built villages appear, surrounded by 
orchards of peach, apricot, and walnut trees ; the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 77 

houses are of stone mostly, and two and three 
stories in height, of which the cattle occupy the 
ground-floor, while the upper stories house the 

Soon after leaving Jug-et-sook the valley 
narrows rapidly ; the road, such as it is, ascends 
at a more perceptible incline ; cultivation grows 
less and less, and the " forest primeval " 
encroaches more and more. On an eminence to 
the right were some hot springs, of the existence 
of which our Hindoo servants were eager to tell 
us, and also to ask leave to make a pilgrimage 
to them. 

They are looked on as sacred by all religiously- 
minded Hindoos, and a bath in their waters 
washes away a multitude of sins. The Hindoos 
of the hills do not indulge in the diurnal ablu- 
tions of the Hindoo of the plains, at least not on 
a journey ; and for our servants to get a good 
washing was so undoubtedly a temporal blessing 
as far as their masters were concerned, that they 
easily obtained permission to avail themselves of 
the spiritual benefits attendant on a warm bath. 

We here saw the curious ceremony of taking 

78 Travels in Ladak^ 

a god out for a promenade, conducting him, with 
much pomp, tom-tomming, shouting, and music, 
to the sacred springs, where offerings are made 
him of ^hee — i.e., clarified butter — fine flour, and 
sugar ; and then, for fear, I presume, that these 
unaccustomed dainties should interfere with his 
divine digestion, he is taken to a grass-plot hard 
by, and there danced up and down till his 
votaries are tired with their exertions, when they 
once more shoulder the object of their adoration 
and conduct him back to his deota or temple. 

The divinity on this occasion was a strange 
edifice of scraps of red cloth, feathers, cows'- 
tails, and other rubbish — a very cheap god, in- 
deed ! When new, he could not have cost more 
than five shillings ; and when w^e saw him he 
was sadly the worse for his promenades, 
dancings, and jollifications at the sacred springs. 
His dilapidated appearance, however, detracted 
in nothing from the veneration of his worship- 
pers ; he was, in their estimation, as good a god 
as ever. 

There was only one spring, which flowed into 
a small reservoir of cut stone, and was connected 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 79 

with a second reservoir of the same size by a 
little channel faced with stone. 

"A strong smell of sulphuretted hydrogen 
escaped with the vapour, and the water had the 
taste of Harrowgate water; but no medicinal 
qualities are ascribed to it by the natives." So 
says Moorcroft, who is, 1 have no doubt, per- 
fectly right ; but being myself unacquainted 
either with the perfume of sulphuretted hydro- 
gen, or with the taste either of this or of 
Harrowgate water, I cannot take upon myself 
formally to corroborate his statement. 

After leaving the hot spring, we scrambled on 
by an unfrequented bye-path to the banks of the 
Beas again, here so dwindled that we forded 
it without difficulty; and two or three miles 
more of a gradual ascent brought us to the 
village of Bourwa, a little beyond which we 
camped. We had now reached an elevation of 
fully seven thousand feet ; all cultivation had 
ceased ; the pine, the cypress, and the cedar took 
the place of peach, apricot, and walnut tree ; 
and rugged cliffs and rocky mountain sides met 
the eye that so lately had rested on the trim 

80 Travels in Ladak^ 

enclosures and carefully irrigated fields of the 

To our right was the Eotang-ki-joth, or Ro- 
tang Pass, which we were to scale on the 
morrow ; we could see but little of it, for thick 
rain-clouds draped it almost to its feet, and what 
little we did see looked cold, wet, dreary, and 
inhospitable. The villagers, on learning our in- 
tentions, recommended us to send on as much of 
our baggage as we could spare at once, and in 
reply to our somewhat anxious inquiries as to 
the sort of weather we were likely to find up 
there, said, " It always rains on the Eotang-ki- 

These birds of ill omen croaked falsely. The 
morrow broke bright and clear, and we reached 
the banks of the Chandra river without a drop 
of rain. It was a stiff walk — a good seventeen 
miles — in the course of which we ascended six, 
and descended fltree thousand feet. 

The tents were struck, and their late occupants 
were shivering outside in the dim grey twilight 
ere day broke. We crowded round the smoulder- 
ing embers of the mighty fire by side of which 

Tartar and Kashmir. 81 

our servants had bivouacked, gulped down hot 
cups of coffee or chocolate, and on the dank 
breath of morn floated lingeringly the fragrance 
of our morning " weeds." Soon all was packed. 
One by one the coolies started with their respec- 
tive loads, and no excuse for loitering round the 
fire remained. En avant ! 

In front strode the stalwart form of the " Offi- 
cial Friend," closely waited on by his faithful fol- 
lowers, Bujjoo, Nurput, and Noura; the latter 
worthy I have as yet only mentioned by name, 
but he deserves a more detailed description. His 
costume, if nothing else, entitles him to a niche 
in our portrait gallery. He " wears the jacket 
red" of a 93rd Highlander, which, though it 
must have passed through many hands ere it 
reached those of Noura, still preserves some- 
thing of its pristine bravery ; above this nods a 
lofty turban, arranged in imitation evidently of 
the " feather-bonnet." 

I can trace no further attempt at Highland 
costume, however ; his nether limbs are clad in 
a strange medley of rags and tatters, but his 
step is proud, and his bearing worthy of the 


82 Travels in Ladah^ 

''garb of old Graul," as lie shoulders his master's 
fowling-piece and prepares to follow him. 

He was the head-man of the Ladakhis who ac- 
companied ns, and on the condition that he kept 
them in order was permitted to march without a 
load. Poor Noura ! — ^his language was a most 
unintelligible jargon, yet he put in his oar on all 
occasions, and was in his own opinion and that 
of his Ladakhis, an infallible " Sir oracle on all 

Bujjoo and Nurput can, when they please, get 
themselves up in the height of hill dandyism, 
but on the march they wisely appear in gar- 
ments more serviceable than costly ; to-day they 
have with them a couple of unladen coolies, and 
a coil of stout rope, with which the latter will be 
harnessed to the " Official Friend" as the ascent 
gets steep, and so aid his upward progress. 

Close behind comes our artist, walking stoutly 
as yet, but within a few yards may be seen his 
" dandy," — the palanquin before-mentioned ; 
and the Major — who, with myself, has been loth 
to leave the fire, — somewhat maliciously wonders 
how long this unwonted activity will last ; the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 83 

artist is no great pedestrian, and we, it is 
best to confess at once, are rather proud of our 
walking powers. 

Such the order of our march at starting : our 
path is a rough and slippery one ; to our right 
roars unseen, at the bottom of a narrow gorge, 
the Beas, now reduced to the limits of a mere 
mountain stream, but pent in that confined 
channel, a formidable torrent still ; to our left 
rises an overhanging cliff, dripping with constant 
moisture : now up, now down, now turning to 
the right and now to the left, there is no end to 
our path's vagaries ; at last it debouches on a 
valley in miniature, not a quarter of a mile 
broad, and in length but little more ; high cliffs 
crowned with pines shut it in on the right hand 
and on the left, and from their summits fall fre- 
quent cascades, which form into rivulets at the 
bottom, and intersect the valley. I counted nine 
of these cascades, and never remember to have 
seen a more picturesque spot. After crossing 
the little valley we arrived at the foot of the 
pass proper. 

A rough causeway of stones leads up the ascent ; 
G 2 

84 Travels in Ladak^ 

this is a great assistance to the pedestrian, giving 
him a firm footing, but it is too steep for cattle ; 
and a winding path stretched away to the right, 
up which all four-footed wayfarers are driven. 
This causeway is nearly four miles in length ; 
and when the traveller's foot rests on its topmost 
slab, he has the satisfaction of knowing that the 
worst half of his climb is past. The causeway 
owes its existence to a priest, or piru, called 
Eillat Bliagt, the religious head of an estabUsh- 
ment of mendicants."^ 

The ascent for the next half-mile is much 
more gradual, and here, with his usual sagacity, 
had Ali Bux prepared breakfast. 

A little to the right of the causeway, and near 
its summit, is a holy spot, sacred to all the gods 
in the Hindoo calendar. We were again in- 
debted to the religious zeal of our servants for 
pointing this out to us ; after a good deal of 
prostration, praying, and offering up of liandfuls 
of flour, and lumps of sugar and ghee, the divi- 
nity at last vouchsafed his appearance in the 
sliape of a little serpent about two and a half 
* Vide Moorcroft, Part I., page 188. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 85 

feet long, who wriggled about playfully in the 
sunshine, which had probably more to do with 
his leaving his snug hole in the rock than the 
genuflexions of our followers ; their delight, not 
unmixed with awe, at the reptile's appearance, 
was unmistakeably genuine — their credulity was 
no feigned feeling : they believed implicitly in 
the presence of the supernatural, and their faith 
was as pure and unsophisticated as its object was 
foul and erroneous. 

They told us that sometimes as many as twenty 
or thirty of these snakes appear on this spot to 
the faithful ; " but that," added they, naively, 
" is generally in the middle of the day, when the 
sun is hot.*' 

The legend runs, that when the gods fled 
before the might of the Ealds (the Titans of 
Hindoo mythology), they took refuge for a time 
in the snows of the Himalayas, and the serpents 
were placed to guard all the roads to their abode. 
This was one of the principal outposts of the ser- 
pent army, and, from mere force of habit, I sup- 
pose, their descendants continue to keep up the 
routine of guard-mounting, &c. : but they must 

86 Ti^avels in Ladak^ 

be sadly degenerate, so trifling a worm as that 
would have been a ridiculous barrier against 
triumphant and gigantic Ealds ; doubtless they 
were boa-constrictors in those good old days 
when the Olympian court was held on the peaks 
of Kailas ; they kept better watch, too, then, it is 
to be hoped, when ministering spirits went the 
rounds, for I will swear before any court-martial 
that the sentry was asleep in his box when we 
came up, and that when he was aroused from 
his criminal slumbers, he did not turn out the 
guard, present fangs, or ask for the counter- sign ; 
fancy the lamentations of a veteran serpent, of a 
vieille moustache of the old snake army, could he 
rise from the dead, over their shortcomings — 
what a yarn he would spin, commencing, " By 
Vishnu, sir," and ending confidentially in your 
ear, with an apoplectic sigh deep-drawn from the 
bottom of his scaly waistcoat, " it's my belief, 
sir the service has gone to the devil 

The legend goes on to say that the gods, in- 
vigorated, we will -presume, by the bracing 
Alpine air, or driven to desperation by the 
iristesse of their lonely residence, again took the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 87 

Jield, utterly routed the Ealds, and slew them to 
a giant. The fossils so plentifully strewed over 
the Sewalik, or lowest ranges of the Himalayas, 
are the bones of the slain Eakis ! ! ! 
This was Bujjoo's story. 

Breakfast over, we prepared to breast the hill 
again. A tedious ascent of about four miles 
more brought us to the source of the Beas river, 
which trickles, a feeble streamlet, from beneath a 
vein of slate, about one hundred feet below the 
crest of the pass. It is walled round on three 
sides ; and against one of the walls leans a little 
stone slab, on which is sculptured in rude alto- 
relievo the figure of the river deity, Beas Eishi : 
withered flowers, the offerings of Hindoo pil- 
grims, lay strewed about. We, too, made our 
offering, in the form of a libation, not poured out 
in honour of the river-god, but poured down in 
honour and for the delectation of ourselves : a 
nip of whisky at that altitude, and after that 
climb, was most enjoyable. 

About a mile before this we had crossed a 
small glacier, not more than fifty yards broad, 
but of great depth. The hardened snow of the 

88 Travels in Ladak^ 

surface was discoloured and muddy, and the fis- 
sures, of which there were only one or two, were 
but a few inches in depth. It filled up a ravine 
in the side of the mountain, and was thaw^ing fast 
when we passed over it ; besides this, we saw 
only a few patches of snow in sheltered spots. 

The pass itself is of a good breadth, and 
almost level, the ascent on either side becoming 
less and less steep as it approaches the summit. 
The surface is wet and spongy, from the number 
of small springs which ooze from the ground in 
all directions. The top is marked by a cairn of 
stones, surmounted by a few sticks, from which 
rags of cloth flutter. This is erected for the pur- 
pose of propitiating the spirit of the mountain, 
who, to judge from the terrors of his favourite 
haunt, must be an awful bogie indeed. 

A piercingly cold wind blew through this 
broad gap in the mighty ridge, and clouds ob- 
scured the mountains on either side. Moorcroft 
computes the height of the Eotang Pass as above 
thirteen thousand three hundred feet ; other wri- 
ters make it a little lower, and call it thirteen 

Tartai-y^ and Kashmir. 89 

The Eotang pass crosses what Cunningham* 
calls the Lahoul range of the Mid-Himalaya, or 
Pir Panjal chain. The mean height of the 
peahs of this range he computes at eighteen thou- 
sand nine hundred and twenty feet ; and the 
mean height of the whole range at close on 
seventeen thousand feet. 

The descent, at first very gradual, soon be- 
comes steep, and in some places almost precipi- 
tous. It leads down to the left bank of the 
Chandra river, which foams along at the bottom 
with great rapidity. We crossed by a suspension 
bridge, formed of ropes of birch twigs, about one 
hundred feet in length ; this was the third 
different description of bridge which had occurred 
in the few last marches. We had walked across 
the wooden {sango or sJmigzam) bridge, we had 
been slung over by the rope-bridge (or Jhula), 
we had sat astride on (deris) inflated skins, and 
so been ferried across; but now had come the 
most ticklish operation of all. 

Pendant between two ropes of birch twigs, 
which stretched across the stream from rude 

* Vide Cunningliam's Ladak, page 68. 

90 Travels in Ladak^ 

piers erected on eiblier bank, liung, cradle-like, a 
continuous hurdle of the same frail material, 
attached to the ropes above by a sort of open 


basket-work ; this was the footway, and the ropes 
above served as balustrades on either side. This 
footway was further supported by two or three 

Tartary^ and Kaslimir. 91 

smaller birchen ropes laid side by side beneath 
it, and stretching across the stream in the same 
manner as the two upper ropes. 

This, when new, is, I dare say, a safe and 
pleasant way enough of crossing a mountain 
torrent ; but after such a bridge has been 
trodden on by the traffic of months, and the 
footway is worn and broken, leaving large gaps 
through which you can see the swirling flood 
below ; when the basket-work sides have ceased 
to do their duty, and the roadway swings from 
side to side, so slight is its connexion with the 
two main ropes ; and when their chief supporters, 
these guardian banisters, have sunk in the centre 
by their own weight to nearly a level with the 
footway itself, — the transit is by no means an 
easy one, and it requires a cool head and a sure 
foot to effect it without a certain trepidation. 

One hundred feet of closely packed birch rods ! 
What a sight for a " schoolmxaster abroad " ! 
He would think it a sad waste of material, I 
fancy ; or rather, what a sight for a schoolboy ! 
so many thousand rods of birch hanging, not in 
■ ' pickle," but harmlessly pendant, never to be 

92 Travels in Ladak^ 

taken down for purposes of salutary discipline 
or employed in wholesome flagellation 1 

This rude suspension bridge is called cimq-zmi 
by the natives, and is common in many parts of 

The Chandra rises in the Bara Lacha Pass, 
and has attained by the time it reaches Koksar a 
considerable size. The point at which the sus- 
pension bridge spanned it was the narrowest 
that we could see for some miles up and down. 
At Tandi, about twenty-five miles below Koksar, 
it receives the waters of the Bhaga river, whose 
source is also situated in the pass of Bara Lacha. 
After the confluence of these two rivers the 
united stream is called Chandra- Ba^ha^ or 
Chenab, and is, next to the Sutlej,the largest of 
the five great rivers of the Punjab. 

The bridge was crossed without an accident 
— a fact highly satisfactory to the traveller at 
the time, but perfectly exasperating to the 
book-maker, to whom the dearth of incident is 
quite appalling ! If somebody had only fallen 
through, or something belonging to somebody 
had only tumbled in, what an opportunity for 

Tar tar and Kashmir. 93 

the author ! But no ! bag and baggage, masters 
and men, all got across, as I said before, in most 
provoking safety. 

We left the province of Kulu on the other side 
the river, and were now in that of Lahoul. 
With a new country shall begin a fresh chapter, 
but first you shall read, if you have a mind, 
something staid and statistical, touching trade. 

The Chandra river, at Koksar, is the principal 
obstacle to this line of traffic between the wool- 
producing countries of the north and the plains, 
and is so serious a one that it threatens to close 
it entirely against beasts of burden, for the 
current is too rapid for them to be swum across 
in any safet3\ 

The urgent necessity of a good bridge at this 
point has been frequently urged on the Indian 
Government, but as yet without avail ! 

The large admixture of inferior wool with the 
pure " pushm " (the wool of the shawl-goat), in 
the shawls manufactured of late at TTmritsar, and 
their consequent depreciation in value, may be 
mainly attributed to the perils of the passage of 

I the river at Koksar, which deter merchants from 


94 Travels in Ladak^ 

taking this Hue with their merchandize, and in- 
duce them to seek a market in Kashmir in pre- 
ference, notwithstanding the hea\^ dues levied 
on all imports hy the Maharajah. . Supplies of 
the pure " pushm " of Eudokh, &c., being thus 
almost entirely cut off by the want of a good 
bridge at Koksar (for the rest of the route is 
easy), the Umritsar merchants become dependent 
on the insufiicient quantities smuggled from the 
Chinese frontier through Kunawur, by paths on 
which none but lightly-laden sheep and goats, 
assisted by hardy mountaineers, can travel. But 
these mountain tracks are only used by a few en- 
terprising adventurers, incited by the fascination 
of a lawless pursuit, and the large profits accru- 
ing from the evasion of the enormous waj'-'dues 
levied by the Government of Kashmir. The 
amount of " pushm," therefore, obtainable by 
their means is but small, and its supply pre- 
carious. Hence the shawl merchants of the 
plains may be said to be driven to adulteration — 
to the admixture of an inferior description of 
wool, in order to make their supply of shawls 
equal the demand. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 95 

At present tlie Governments of Kashmir and 
China appear to play into each other's hands, the 
Chinese prohibiting all traffic from their territory 
save through Ladak, the territory of the 
Maharajah, thus enabling the Kashmir ruler to 
monopolize almost the entire trade, in which he 
is virtually assisted by the Indian Government, 
v^hich, as I have shown, has done nothing to 
facilitate the transit of merchandize by the main 
route, at present available from the wool-produc- 
ing countries to Nurpur, Umritsar, and Loodiana, 
via Koksar. 

The Maharajah's profits by this monopoly are 
so enormous that it is hopeless to attempt to in- 
duce him to reduce the duties on Chinese mer- 
chandize of his own free will, and until the 
' Indian Government provides another route for 
j the transit of merchandize from China to Hin- 
dostan, it is useless to urge on the Chinese 
I Government the repeal of their present pro- 
hibition of all export save through Ladak, be- 
cause through Ladak it must of necessity come, 
save in trifling quantities, by the smuggling paths 
above m^entioned. 

96 Travels in Ladak^ 

There being, tlierefore, this one route only, it 
seems imperative on the Government of India to 
render it as practicable a one as it is possible to 
make it. 

A road which should connect Hindostan with 
China without passing through foreign territory, 
is of course an immense desideratum. This sub- 
ject is treated of at some length in the remarks 
on the New Eoad to be found in the Appendix. 


Tartar]]^ and Kashmir. 



^UE/ slumbers were 
deep and long, 
and the sun was shining 
brightly when Isree and 
a cup of chocolate aroused me from them. 

Such a noisy camp as it was ! such a Babel of 
shrill tongues chattering all around one ! On 
questioning Isree, he laconically answered, " Coo- 
lie-logue" — i.e. "it's only the coolies!" and 
throwing open the fly of the tent, raised the 
curtain on as strange a scene as traveller ever saw. 


98 ' Travels in Ladak^ 

About a hundred women, girls, children, and 
babies were squabbling, scolding, laugbing, jok- 
ing, talking ! — no, not tbe babies, altbougli they, 
little innocents ! gave tongue too in the only 
way they could ; and a chorus of infantine squalls 
gave ample evidence of the soundness of their 
little lungs, greatly, no doubt, to the satisfaction 
of their mammas ; not, however, that they seemed 
to care much, their most absorbing pursuit ap- 
pearing to be examining, lifting, and essaying to 
carry each package and " khilta" full of baggage, 
as the servants finished packing them. 

They were difficult to please ; feminine vanity 
was, I suspect, at the bottom of it. " The be- 
coming" was doubtless their object; and each 
one was searching eagerly for a portmanteau 
that suited her particular style, or a box calcu- 
lated to show ofi" her figure to advantage. Why 
not ? For what we know, they may study the art 
of deportment with a view to the graceful car- 
rying of burdens, and a good deal may depend 
on a load put on with regard to effect. But 
while meditating thus, I forget that my costume 
is hardly complete enough to make me present- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 99 

able to ladies. Those of Lahoul, however, do 
not appear particular; seated in a semicircle, 
about a couple of yards from my tent-door, are 
some five or six, who have evidently set their 
hearts on carrying my property. They are cal- 
culating the probable weight of my luggage, and 
the owner receives but a small amount of atten- 
tion from their inquisitive little pig's eyes. 

I drop the fly, and modestly retire from their 
gaze. Soon the sound of a frantic splashing falls 
on their astonished ears. " Where can it come 
from?" From "inside the tent?" No; "im- 
possible ?" Yes, it does, though ! And at last 
the astounding fact slowly breaks on them — 
" The Sahib is washing himself ! Wa ! wa ! 
what an extraordinary Sahib !" 

These people wash themselves only once a 
year, and never wash their clothes.'* Jacquemont 
saj'-s, " L'hydrophobie dans un peuple est une 
affreuse maladie." 

" Un jour qu'il faisait moins froid qu'a Tordi- 
naire, je me deshabillai pour prendre le bain a la 
mode Indienne, c'est a dire, en me faisant videe 
* Vide Cunningliam's LadaTc, page 303. 
H 2 

100 . Travels in Ladah^ 

siir la tete et les epaules un outre pleine d'eau ; 
mais aux eclaboussures de ce petite cascade, la 
foule des Thibetains pressee autour de moi s'en- 
fuit epouvantee ; et depuis ce jour laje mesnis 
toujours delivre de leurs importunites en mettant 
de faction a la porte de ma miserable petite 
tente, mon porteur d'eau, ou bist^ mussulman, 
avec sa grand barbe noire, qui etait un objet 
d'admiration pour ces peuplades imberbes, et son 
outre bien remplie qui excitait leur terreur." 

My operations are expeditious ; and soon not 
only is the fly of the tent thrown open, but the 
tent itself is being struck, while I put the finish- 
ing touches to my toilette in the open. It 
is a most successful performance on my part.^ 
Never was audience more attentive, or panto- 
mime more popular; never was act of legerde- 
main more wonderingly gazed at than the simple 
process of brushing my hair. The plunging my 
hands into the basin, and producing them again, 
covered with white lather, caused bewilderment, 
only to be exceeded by the merriment created by 
my handling of a tooth-brush. This last novelty, 
was exquisitely funny ; and their laughter only 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 101 

ceased when the properties were all packed and 
ready to be pounced on, examined, talked over, 
lifted, deliberated upon, and finally heaved on the 
backs of these female porters and walked off 

These were the strangest specimens of woman- 
kind it had yet been my lot to meet — at once the 
most dressy and the ugliest of their sex ! Their 
costume, how shall I describe it ? their surpass- 
ing ugliness, how portray ? 

Their hair, of a rusty black, is plaited into a 
number of tails which reach to the waist, and of 
which the extremities are collected together and 


tied under a small bit of mother-of-pearl shell, 
from which again hang rows of beads and small 

102 Travels in Ladah^ 

bells of metal ; these jingled as they moved like 
the bells of a carrier's team, or perhaps still more 
like that ideal personage of our infancy, to see 
whom we have so often ridden 

" A cockhorse to Banbury Cross," 
and who has 

" Bells on her fingers, and bells on her toes, 
She shall have music wherever she goes." 

I had found the ideal of my infantine imagin- 
ings at last ! 

A band of red cloth or leather, about two or 
three inches broad, reaches from the forehead 
back over the crown of the head, and falls as far 
as the waist. This is studded with rough tur- 
quoises, large but ill-shaped, and full of flaws ; 
their colour, too, is green, not blue, and they are 
of little value. This is the fashionable head- 
dress 1 Some (but these may possibly have been 
suffering from neuralgia) wore flaps of black 
sheepskin over the ears — oreilettes, in fact; 
and they all of them added as many beads of 
amber, of mother-of-pearl, and coral, as they 
could come by. Necklaces of amber, cornelian, 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 103 

coral, and glass (generally the latter), hung round 
their tawny throats, from which depended rude 
amulets of silver, nor were armlets and earrings 

A coarse warm jacket of woollen cloth, a striped 
petticoat of divers colours, principally blue, red, 
yellow, and green, and grass shoes or sandals, 
^ completed the costume ! 

A few of them, too, wore undressed sheepskins 
hanging down over the shoulders, and fastened in 
front across the breast by skewers— the most 
primitive of mantles. They all carried small 
1 baskets slung at their backs, ready for a load, and 
most of them had a baby in arms, which, when 
the able-bodied matron who owned it had 
decided what baggage she should carry, was 
! handed over to the care of one of the bigger 

1 Their sunken features, broad, flat, square 

i visages, were well worthy of their ignoble setting. 

The eyes, narrow, small, and twinkliog, 
il / seemed eternally endeavouring, but in vain, to 
squint over the prominent cheek-bone, and peep 
at the flat, broad nose below. The mouth, wide 

104 Travels in Ladak^ 

and tliick-lipped though it was, was the redeem- 
ing feature, for it was generally on the broad grin, 
and gave an expression of good-humour to the 
otherwise dull, vacant face. 

Their figures, squat, short, and broad, were the 
reverse of graceful, but they walked away stoutly 
under burdens which the men near Simla would 
have grumbled at the weight of. 

It was quite a jour de fete for them, and they 
had brought their whole family to share in its 
delights. They were by far the best coolies we 
had had, were these sturdy, good-humoured ladies 
of Lahoul. 

We marched for about ten miles along the 
Chandra river to a village called Sisoo. Here we 
breakfasted under the shade of a little plantation 
of willows, the only trees we had seen since 
leaving Koksar. 

We changed coolies at this place, and went on 
after breakfast to Gundla. We pressed on thus 
quickly with the object of making up for time 
wasted in short marches in the valley of Sultan - 
pore to allow of our friends, the Eiflemen, catch- 
ing us up ; but not having heard from them for 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 105 

some days, we had come to the conclusion that 
they had grown weary of the long " stern chase," 
and had returned to Simla. 

This province of Lahoul was a strange contrast 
to that of Kulu ; save where the hand of man 
had been at work, all was bare and barren. We 
passed several villages en route — the houses of 
stone, plastered with mud, flat-roofed, and two 
and three stories in height. As in Kulu, the 
cattle were lodged in the lower story. To those 
above, the notched stem of a pine-tree formed 
the only means of access. 

Near each village was a carefully- cultivated 
willow orchard — all pollard trees — and patches 
of carefully-irrigated barley and buckwheat. In 
the fields women were working; from the house- 
tops women stared at us ; and women carried our 
baggage. Where, then, were the men ? 

We found, on inquiry, that all the able-bodied 
males pass the summer in transporting merchan- 
dize between Ladak, Chumba, and Kulu, and 
sometimes further, on strong, well-shaped, sure- 
footed ponies ; and not a few, no doubt, spend 
the summer months in contraband traffic on their 
own account. 

106 Travels in Ladak^ 

With the ladies, therefore, the summer is a 
busy time. They have to sow, to reap, and to 
garner ; to stack firewood for the winter on the 
flat house-top, and look after the " childher," and 


last, not least, to carry the baggage of a chance 
Englishman for a march or two (but this latter 
occupation is of so rare occurrence that it has j 
all the charms of novelty for them) ; so that j 
when the good men return home from their j 
travels, they have nothing to do but smoke their : 


Tartary^ and Kashmir, 107 

pipes, and hybernate through the months of ice 
and snow in the enjoyment of the good things 
their helpmate has provided for them. 

I write good men in the plural, and help-mate 
in the singular advisedly, for such is the propor- 
tion — two husbands are about the usual allow- 
ance to one woman, but there are frequent in- 
stances of a much greater number. 

Jacquemont writes : " Un trait bien singulier 
des moeurs Thibetains, que surement vous con- 
naissez, c'est la plurality des maris. Tons les 
freres nes d'une meme mere n'ont qu'une femme 
en commun. II n'arrive jamais que celle-ci ait 
pour un de ses epoux une preference qui trouble 
la paix de cette nombreuse famille. Amour et 
jalousie dans leurs formes les plus grossieres sont 
done des sentiments inconnus a ce peuple." 

Jacquemont was alluding to Thibet proper 
when he wrote this, but the Botis of Lahoul and 
Ladak have the same social customs as their 
more northern brethren, and polyandry and hy- 
drophobia are just as rife among them. 

Ponies were procurable in great numbers, but 
of these, too, nearly all the sires were away with 

108 Travels in Ladak^ 

their masters, and only tlie brood mares and colts 
had been left at home with the " Missus." 

From Gundla we marched to Guruguntal, 
which is a small villaoce situated near the con- 
fluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers ; 
two other villages were in sight at this point — 
Tandi and G-osha. 

The upper story of one of the largest of the 
houses was devoted to religious purposes. We 
climbed up to it by steps cut in the stem of a 
pine-tree laid against the outer wall. There was 


certainly every excuse for the good people of 
Guruguntal if they did not very often attend 
service. The rooms were low-roofed, dark, and 
small ; and in the innermost, lowest, and darkest 
of all were arranged a few rude images, some 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 109 

flags of China silk curiously worked in hiero- 
glyphic characters, and little tables on which 
were set offerings of rice and flour in real China 
cups, which made my fingers itch most sacri- 
legiously. The whole was presided over by a 
villainous-looking hoary old priest or Lam ah, 


with sore eyes and the leer of a satyr. As a 
preacher he could have been anything but po- 
pular, and as father confessor still less so. "A 
very ancient and fish-like smell, a kind of, not of 

110 Travels in Ladak^ 

the newest," pervaded the sacred apartments, 
attributed by the pious, doubtless, to the odours 
of incense and sanctity, and the genius loci him- 
self would have made, properly got up, a perfect 
Caliban, and looked ready enough " to swear upon 
that bottle to be true subject" to the first Ste- 
phano he might meet with a " full butt of sack.'* 
But breakfast is announced, and we hurry 
down the primitive staircase to where, under the 
shade of a pollard willow, our morning repast 
is spread. 

The bread procured from the hospitable Com- 
missioner of Kulu has long since disappeared, 
and we are again reduced to " chupatties," or un- 
leavened cakes, baked on the spot, and brought in 
hot and hot ; these are made thick or thin, crisp 
or soft, according to fancy. Sometimes they 
appeared mighty in circumference, portly in 
shape, compact in quality, and of a flabby tex- 
ture — this was a sign that there was not much 
else to eat ; anon they would take the shape of 
delicate little spongy " scons'' reminding one of 
the far distant luxury of a Scotch breakfast ; but 
tliis was only in times of butter and plenty; 

Tartar and Kashmir. Ill 

and in general our " cliupattie" was of two kinds 
— a thin crisp wafer, whicli did duty as bread 
at dinner ; and the luscious, not to say greasy, 
"pirata," which invariably formed the cereal 
portion of our breakfast. 

The " pirata" is a thin cake of coarse meal, 
fried in " ghee," or clarified liquid butter, and I 
seriously recommend the adoption of it to the 
muffin-men at home. 

Pardon this long digression, but being sine 
Baccho, we naturally thought a good deal about 
Ceres ; the fact was, that both Bacchus and John 
Barleycorn, much as we loved them, were men of 
too liberal a girth for such a journey as we had 
before us ; we simply could not carry them ; and 
a small store of cognac and " mountain dew" 
(for medicinal purposes only) was all we could 

Tea, coffee, chocolate, and " Adam's ale" were 
our beverages. 

From Guruguntal to Kardong was a march of 
about six miles up the left bank of the Bhaga 

Kardong was the largest village we saw in 

112 Travels in Ladah^ 

Lahoiil, and boasts of a two-roomed building (of 
whicli you see tlie verandah in the sketch) ; a 
caravanserai, or resting-place for travellers : we 
found this empty, and took possession. 

The exertions of the inhabitants have made 
the vicinity of Kardong quite green and fertile 
in appearance ; cultivation is carried to a good 
height on each side of the valley, but directly 
irrigation ceases, the bare yellow rock takes its 

Down below us, on the other side the river, 
was a low, neat, whitewashed, two-storied build- 
ing, surrounded by a little enclosure — this was 
the Moravian mission-house. 

The propagation of the gospel among the 
Kalmuc and Mongol tribes inhabiting the 
steppes of Eussian and Chinese Tartary, has 
long been a pet project of the Moravian Church. 

These tribes constitute two branches of the 
same family, and speak dialects of the same 

The formation of the Moravian settlement 
of Sarepta, on the Wolga, near Czarizin, so far 
back as the year 1705, afforded the first favour- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 113 

able opportunity for communicating with the 
tribes who lead a nomadic life on the vast steppes 
that skirt its banks. 

Nothing, however, resulted from this means of 
intercourse till the year 1801, when a Kalmuc 
prince sent his son to Sarepta for education ; it 
would seem that the mission made good use of 
the opening thus given, for in 1808 four girls of 
the Kirghis tribe of Tartars appear to have been 
at Sarepta receiving instruction; in 1812, a 
partial translation of the Bible into the Kalmuc 
tongue was printed; and in 1815, we find the 
brethren — i.e., Moravian missionaries — aided by 
a grant of 300/. from the London Missionary 
Society, actually living among and teaching their 
doctrines to the Torgutsk and Dorpotsk tribes of 
the Kalmuc nation at a considerable distance 
from Sarepta. 

The translated portion of Holy Writ was, in 
1817, so widely circulated among these people 
that it became out of print ; and in the same 
year the head Lamah of the Mongols, and the 
prince of the Chorinian Burats — a Mongol tribe — 
raised a sum of money, amounting to 550/., to 


114 Travels in Ladak^ 

defray the expenses attendant on the translation 
of the Holy Scriptures into the Mongol dialect ; 
and two men of note and high birth, by name 
Badma and Nomtu, were dispatched to St. Pe- 
tersburg to carry out the undertaking. 

The chiefs translated the Gospel of St. Mat- 
thew into their own dialect under the superin- 
tendence of Mr. Schmidt, the Moravian minister 
at St. Petersburg, and themselves embraced 
Christianity ; and subsequently, the Eev. Messrs. 
Stallybrass and Swan, of the London Missionary 
Society, settled in Mongolia, and laboured there 
many years. 

Till 1821 the exertions of the missionaries 
appear to have been crowned with a partial 
success ; but a reaction took place in that year ; 
and at the instigation of the Lamahs, who 
naturally dreaded the effects of Moravian teach- 
ing, the missionaries, together with their prose- 
lytes, amounting in number to twenty-three 
persons, of both sexes and all ages, were driven 
out from among the tribes with whom they had 
lived so long ; the little body of fugitives took 
refuge on an island in the Wolga, near Sarepta. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 115 

The Eussian Government now interposed, or- 
dered tliat the converts should be handed over to 
the Greek Church, forbad further efforts on the 
part of the Moravians, and so the mission ter- 

Foiled in its praiseworthy exertions in behalf 
of the hordes of Central Asia from the north, 
but undismayed, the Moravian Church next 
determined to endeavour to penetrate to them 
from the south, via Hindostan and Thibet, and 
in 1853 missionaries were sent out to Calcutta 
for this purpose. 

Disappointment, however, awaited them : as 
Eussia in the north, so China in the south, 
barred their further progress ; but finding that 
Budhism prevailed in Lahoul, they decided on 
commencing the work in that province ; here, 
under the protection of the British flag, would 
they open their first parallel against heathenism, 
hoping in time to push their trenches farther 
and farther : to the north and west, where dwell 
the tribes their predecessors laboured amongst in 
the beginning of this century; to the north, 
east, and south, where the religion of Budh has 

I 2 

116 Travels in Ladak^ 

its head-quarters : meantime, they would be 
working amongst a kindred people, speaking a 
dialect of the same tongue, and holding the same 
creed as those Mongolian tribes whom they 
hoped one day to reach. This was the scheme 
to which they devoted their lives — as daring and 
ambitious as it is simple and earnest. 

They accordingly purchased from a native of 
Kyelang a small plot of ground on which to 
erect a house. It is worthy of mention that 
they commenced building in 1857, when the 
Sepoy mutiny was at its height ; but, undaunted 
by the news of temporary reverses and the pro- 
longed siege of Delhi, they proceeded with their 
work, having full confidence in the final re- 
establishment of British supremacy — a confidence, 
by-the-bye, which was at one time anything but 
general amongst non-military European residents 
in India. 

In 1859, they found themselves in a position 
to ofier a home to the ladies who have since 
become their wives ; and as is the custom in the 
mission, three ladies were sent out to aid and | 
comfort them in their voluntary exile. One of 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. Ill 

their number, the Eev. W. Pagell, proceeded to 
Calcutta to welcome the fair trio to the shores 
of India; one of them became his wife at Cal- 
cutta ; and Mr. and Mrs. Pagell escorted the two 
remaining adventurous ladies to their future 
home in the Himalaya. 

The missionaries of Lahoul are well acquainted 
with the Thibetan language, which they speak, 
read, and write with facility ; they have trans- 
lated into the dialect of the people around them 
a portion of the New Testament, the " Harmony 
of the Four Gospels," and some other works of a 
religious character ; these have been printed with 
the aid of a lithographic press, which they work 
themselves, and a number of copies have been 

Amongst a people so far removed from civiliza- 
tion, and who have made but little advance since 
the earliest ages of man, the language is naturally 
far from being a comprehensive one, and the 
missionaries found much difficulty in creating 
words to express the figurative and metaphorical 
language of Scripture ; but their labour has been 
amply rewarded by finding that their translation 


Travels in Ladah^ 

fully conveys to the minds of the people the literal 
meaning of the text.* 

They have established a school for both sexes, 
at which the attendance is yearly increasing; 
and the girls are taught the simple arts of knit- 
ting and needlework by their exemplary help- 

As yet they have not met with much success 
in the shape of actual converts to Christianity ; 
but the people are ready to converse on religious 
subjects, and take pleasure in tracing the many 
points of resemblance which exist between our 
religion and theirs — between Christ and Boodha.f 

* Messrs. Hue and Gabet say, " The Thibetan language, 
essentially religious and mystic, conveys with much clear- 
ness and precision all the ideas connected with the human 
soul and the Divinity." — Vide Travels in Tartary, Thibet, 
and China, page 189. 

+ One of the many sketches of Budha's origin is, that 
after living in Heaven as a god for thirty-six million five 
hundred thousand years, being " desirous of saving men, he 
came to earth and gave his body to a hungry tiger, and at 
length, having amassed the necessary amount of virtue, he 
approached the bosom of his mother on a white elejjhant. 
His destined mother, who was wife to the Rajah Ludhood- 
hana (in Rohilcund), dreams that this elephant filled the 
universe with light ; awaking frightened, she tells the king 
her dream, and soothsayers being consulted, predict that 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 


This resemblance is at once an assistance and 
a drawback to the missionary ; an assistance, in- 
asmuch as he finds in the educated Budhist a 
mind prepared to accept the mystery of Incarna- 
tion (it is no new doctrine to the believer on 
Boodh) — and the mere fact of a partial similarity 
of creed excites a curiosity on the part of the 
listener to hear more ; a drawback, inasmuch as 
it induces the Budhist to think that Christianity 
is but another and an inferior form of his own 
religion, which he feels inclined to tolerate, but 
never to adopt. 

The practical creed of the Budhist is a very 
moral one; and could he be persuaded that 
Christ fulfils his idea of a perfect Boodh, and let 
the name of our Saviour be substituted for that 

a child shall be born to her who shall attain either worldly 
or spiritual greatness." — Vide Life in Ancient India, page 
255. The legend goes on to say that a child is born, 
that holy men and sages receive supernatural intelligence 
of his birth, and, guided by a light in the heavens, find 
him out and worship him ; that the child as he grows 
older renounces the pleasures of this life, and the temp- 
tations of earthly dominion ; lives the life of an ascetic, 
goes alone into a forest, and contends with the powers of 
darkness, &c. &c. 

120 Travels in Ladak^ 

of Boodh in his creed, it will be found to approxi- 
mate closely to that of a Christian.* 

But upon rich and poor, on the educated 
and the ignorant alike, the doctrine of the trans- 
migration of souls acts fatally; it is to the 
Budhist what fatalism is to the Mahommedan. 
If a Budhist is treated with kindness and benevo- 
lence, he sees no cause for gratitude, because he 
looks upon it all as the result of good works 
performed by him in a previous state of 
existence. If, on the other hand, misfortune 
overtake him, he considers it as a punishment 
for sins committed by him when existing in 
another shape. 

The vastness of the undertaking — i.e., the con- 
version of the numerous tribes inhabiting the 
elevated plains of Central Asia — stands out in 
prominent contrast with the simple earnestness of 
the three humble men engaged in it — men who 
have left home, house, and kindred — who have 
placed between them and the rest of the world 
a barrier of snow and ice which is for six months 
of the year impassable ; and who are content to 
* Vide Prinsep's Thibet^ Tarlary, and Mongolia. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 121 

spend their lives among a people alien to them 
in language, habits, custom, and religion, in the 
belief that in so doing they are but fulfilling 
their duty towards God — another duty towards 

We crossed the river, and paid a visit to the 
mission next morning en route. 

Open the little wicket gate ! take one short 
step inside ! Presto ! pop ! You are no longer 
in Thibet — you are thousands of miles away 
back in dear old Deutschland ! ! * * * 

One of the Herr Pastors comes forward 
courteously to greet you (he has been smoking a 
matutinal pipe in the cool spacious verandah) 
and asks you in. The sudden transition from 
dirt and squalor to the scrupulous cleanliness of 
a German dwelling-house is utterly bewildering. 
Ere you have recovered your presence of mind 
you are introduced, first, to a lady who is knitting 
stockings by the stove ; and then to another who 
is playing with a baby in the window-seat. 
"The ladies do not speak English," says the 
Herr Pastor, on which, taking heart of grace, 
you dive down into the depths of your memory, 

122 Travels in Laddk^ 

thence fish up some half- forgotten words of 
German, and proceed to inform the lady in the 
window-seat that the baby is a beauteous 
creature and the image of its mamma — this with 
a bow which you flatter yourself is rather telling. 
Alas ! poor bungler ! the lady of the hnitting- 
needles is the mamma ! ! * * * but 
this bevue causes a laugh, and promotes conversa- 
tion, and you are quite sorry when it is time 
to go ! 

Togo? So soon? But not empty handed! 
A basket of garden peas, of beetroot, and cab- 
bage is hastily packed and pressed on our accep- 
tance. And so, with a kind " Grod speed you " 
ringing in their ears, exeunt the travellers out of 
this little Eden of German purity and godliness, 
into the outer world of heathendom and dirt. 

The " Ofiicial Friend " had been waited on at 
Kardong by an influential native, called Tara 
Chund, whose dwelling was close to our next 
halting ground. He was the largest landowner 
in Lahoul, and had lately been granted by the 
Punjab Government certain magisterial powers, 
with authority to impose fines, I believe, to the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 123 

amount of fifty rupees — i.e., 5/. Forfeiture to 
this amount is, in so poor a country, a grievous 
penalty, and authority to inflict it invested friend 
Tara with almost supreme power in the barren 
little principality of which he was potentate. 

He was a stout-built, active little man, of 
about forty, with a good deal of shrewdness in 
the expression of his ugly face of the true Mongol 

He accompanied us on the march next day. 
Our path on leaving the mission house passed 
through a good deal of cultivation, carefully 
fenced-in small enclosures, and abundantly irri- 
gated. It then entered an extensive grove of 
the pencil-cedar, after which it led through a 
barren country, pleasantly interrupted now and 
then by the patch of green which invariably 
surrounded every village or small cluster of 
houses. After about twelve miles it debouched 
on a little plain ; here, close to a little village, 
was the paternal mansion of Tara Chund, differ- 
ing in nothing save in size from the houses of 
the village ; but a few ruined towers showed 
that once on a time a small fort had stood there. 

124 Travels in Ladak^ 

We came across a manufactory of grass shoes 
to-day ; some half-dozen women seated by the 
way-side, each with a bundle of grass beside 
her, were diligently plaiting the frail material 
into long strips of different degrees of thickness, 
while others rapidly made it up into sandals. 

Of these latter ladies, one was really quite 
pretty, despite the Mongol type of her features. 
We could only account for her comeliness by the 
supposition that we had had the good fortune to 
see her very shortly after her annual wash. 

These shoes are of course very soon worn 
out, and are never mended, but kicked aside as 
soon as they cease to defend the feet from the 
roughness of the path. The road was strewed 
with cast-off sandals. 

We sought the shade of a few pollard wiUow 
trees till our tents should arrive. Tara Cliund 
and his sons came and squatted there as well; 
and a circle of villagers and retainers of the 
Lahoulee grandee stood at a respectful distance, 
and looked on at our proceedings with deep 

Soon the circle opens out and admits the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 125 

passage of a grave procession, headed by an aged 
Tartar, bearing on bigb a migbty brass teapot, 
and followed by otliers with trays of sweetmeats 
,and spices. These are placed in the midst of us, 
and Tara Chmid proceeds to do the honours. 
The beverage flowed from the twisted spout in a 
thick, deep red stream ; it tasted like rich choco- 
late, and but for a certain greasiness of flavour, 
this tea a la Tartar e was very palatable. The 
teapot is soon empty, and returns for a fresh 
supply ; but the second brew is hardly drinkable, 
for this time the tea has been seasoned with salt, 
not sweetened with sugar. 

These are the two approved Tartar methods of 
making tea; the process is the same in both. 
" It is first made into a strong decoction with 
soda, then seasoned with salt, or sweetened with 
sugar, according to fancy, and churned with 
butter until it acquires the colour and consistency 
of thick rich cocoa or chocolate."* 

We here first met the yak {hos grunniens). 
The yak is short, but of immense frame and 
strength, with a small head, short horns, and 
* Yide Cunningham's Ladak, page 305. 

126 Travels in Ladak^ 

long black hair reaching to the ground, beneath 
which is a sort of undergrowth of short soft 
wool. The oxen mostly used in Ladak are 
hybrids between the yak and the common cow.. 


The progeny, dso or zho, inherits much of the 
strength and power of endurance of the sire 
with the docility of the dam, and is used for 
ploughing, as well as carrying burdens. The 
milk of the hybrid cow, dsomo or zhomo, is 
much esteemed. 

We made a short march next day to Dartcha, 
a hamlet of one or two houses, built in the angle 
formed by the confluence of the Dartcha and 
Bagha rivers. 

The Dartcha flowed in from the left hand at 

, and Kashmir. 127 



j right angles to the Bagha, which received at this 
same point a second tributary from the right 
hand, flowing in also at right angles, so that look 
which way you would — north, south, east, or 

I west — you had always the distant vista before 
you of a rocky valley with its mountain stream 
rushing down — it was a sort of "four cross- 
roads," in fact, only that these watery ways did 
not cross, but joining company, flowed away in 
amicable union towards the south. 

At this meeting of the waters a striking land- 
slip had taken place. A mountain has, as it 
were, been cut in two- — one half remains standing 
erect, while the other, shivered in pieces by the 
force of the blow which severed it, lies strewn in 
quaintly- shaped fragments on the ground it om\Q 
covered with a graceful slope, and stretches for 
acres beyond, grovelling at the foot of the 
mighty clifl" it once helped to support, and 
damming up and changing the course of the 
stream below. 

Curiously enough, when consulting Moorcroft's 
Travels, after my return, on question of distance, I 
found the following graphic account of this con- 


128 Travels in Ladah^ 

vulsion of nature, wliicli was actually in progress 
when he passed the spot some forty years before : — 
"This route has been obstructed for some 
years by the gradual subsidence of a mountain, 
which was still in progress, and which we had 
therefore an opportunity of witnessing. About 
two -thirds up the acclivity of a mountain about 
half a mile distant, a little dust was from time to 
time seen to arise ; this presently increased, until 
an immense cloud spread over and concealed the 
summit, whilst from underneath it huge blocks 
of stone were seen rolling and tumbling down 
the steep. Some of these buried themselves in 
the ground at the foot of the perpendicular face 
of the cliff; some slid along the rubbish of pre- 
vious debris, grinding it to powder, and mark- 
ing their descent by a line of dust; some 
bounded along with great velocity, and plunged 
into the river, scattering its waters about in 
spray. A noise like the pealing of artillery 
accompanied every considerable fall. In the 
intervals of a slip, and when the dust was dis- 
persed, the face of the descent was seen broken 
into ravines, or scored with deep channels, and 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 129 

blackened as if with moisture. About half a 
mile beyond, and considerably higher than the 
crumbling mountain, was another, whose top was 
i tufted with snow. It was surrounded by others, 
■ lower and of a more friable nature. It appeared 
to me that the melting of the snows on the 
principal mountain, and the want of a sufficient 
i vent for the water, was the cause of the rapid 
decay of the mountains which surrounded; for 
the water, which in the summer lodges in the 
fissure and clefts of the latter, becomes frozen 
again in winter, and in its expansion tears to 
pieces the surrounding superincumbent rock. 
Again melting in the summer, it percolates 
through the loosened soil, and undermining pro- 
jecting portions of the rock, precipitates them 
into the valley. As, however, rubbish accumu- 
lates on the face and at the foot of the moun- 
tain, a fresh barrier and buttress are formed, 
and the work of destruction is arrested for a 

It had been arrested for a very long season 
when we passed, for a few stunted shrubs were 
growing on the debris at the foot of the cliff, 


130 Travels in Ladah^ 

and the route which Moorcroft speaks of as 
being obstructed again took its old line over the 
masses which were formerly blocked. 

Our friend Tara Chund came with us to 
Darcha, where he and Bujjoo had a busy time of 
it, for we had now reached the last village of 
Lahoul, and for the next seven marches must 
take with us not only coolies, but food and fuel 
for seven days' consumption. 

Koksar is ten thousand feet above the level of 
the sea ; since we left it, we had been gradually 
ascending, and though the mid-day sun was 
hotter than ever, the nights were beginning to 
be very cold. Patches of snow were now 
frequently visible on the crags around us, and 
our Mahommedan servants repented them 
bitterly of ever having come with us ; but it was 
too late to turn back now. 

We white men, however, felt stronger and 
cheerier as the cold became more bracing. The 
mere sense of height brings with it a strange 
buoyancy of spirits, an unwonted exhilaration. 
We were in better condition, too, than when we 
started ; could scale a mountain side without 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 131 

" turning a hair," and calmly look down from 
dizzy heights from whose edge a fortnight before 
we should have shrunk back with awe. 


K 2 


Travels in Ladak^ 

stone. But it was still 
early, and though already had Chumpa pitched 
a tent or two, the " Official Friend " gave the 
order to strike and pack them, and we were soon 
en route again for Zing-Zing-beer, where, said 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 133 

Tara Chund, was a good piece of level ground 
for camping. 

The scenery now became wilder at every step, 

bridgp: at patseo. 

and we ' soon entered a rocky valley, which to- 
wards its upper end divided into two deep 
gullies. It was up the right-hand one that we 

134 Travels in Ladak^ 

toiled. Mother earth had here clothed herself 
in armour of proof. Eock, bare rock, rose on 
either side ; rocks, sharp rocks, lay under our 
feet, and above was a clear blue sky, from which 
poured fiercely down the rays of the mid-day 
sun, melting the snow which yet lingered in the 
clefts of the lofty crags into tiny cascades and 
rivulets, which came dancing, leaping, sparkling 
down, delighting in their escape from their icy 
prison above, while down the gorge, keen and 
cutting as a knife, drifted a wintry blast fresh 
from the eternal snows. 

A state of things, this, very trying to the com- 
plexion. We were all of us pretty well bronzed. 
Our cheeks had too often been exposed to the fire 
of an Indian sun in the plains, to care much for 
its rays at this altitude ; but when on our hot, 
parched skin played this cold wintry breath, the 
cuticle cracked, peeled, and shrivelled — in fact, 
surrendered at discretion. 

" Take with you lots of biscuits, goggles, and 
cold cream,'' was the advice of a celebrated Hill 
sportsman to me ere I started. And now the two 
latter stood me in good stead — the goggles to 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 135 

shade my eyes from the glare on the treeless, 
bladeless rocks, and the cold cream wherewith to 
anoint my chapped and bleeding face. A mask 
of crape or cloth is, however, the proper thing 
to wear, 

A mile or two more and the gorge widened. 
Our path now wound up the left bank of a rapid 
torrent. It was all "against the collar," and 
grew steeper and steeper as we advanced. We 
had commenced the ascent of the Bara Lacha. 

We had now been walking some hours, and 
began to think it high time to halt. "How 
much farther?" Thoree door, maharaj ! 
" Only a little way, your Highness !" says Tara 
Chund. We all knew what this meant. 
" Thoree door " is equivalent to the Scotcli 
" bittock," and may be any distance, from one 
mile to five. 

On a sudden, turning in the pathway we come 
upon a young travelling merchant who had 
passed us in the morning, gazing attentively at 
some object on the mountain to our left. As we 
come up, he announces that some "ibex" are 

136 Travels in Ladak^ 

feeding up there, and that if the Sahibs like, they 
can go and shoot them. 

We stare, and gaze, and look through field- 
glasses, but to no purpose ; no living thing can 
we see. But so confident is the fellow that he 
is right, that he at last persuades the " Ofiicial 
Friend " and myself to place ourselves under his 
guidance, and, rifle on shoulder, ofi" we start. 
The torrent to our left we cross by a snow-bridge, 
and are soon breasting the opposite steep. We 
have a long climb before us, for to circumvent 
this wily goat, you must get above him ; and so 
for some two thousand feet of sheer ascent we 
toil on, till our guide motions to us to lie down 
under a vast fragment of rock that lay half- 
imbedded in the mountain-side, while, prone 
on the earth, he wriggles himself forward to peer 
over the ledge. We wait and wait in breathless 
suspense; but it is mth a downcast look that 
he returns. The birds have flown ; we have had 
our climb for nothing. 

He shows us the place, though, where the ibex 
had been feeding when he saw them, and proves 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 137 

their late presence on the spot by indisputable 
facts, so we cannot be angry with him. 

It is dark ere we reach camp that night, 
wearier, if not wiser men. 

The Thibetan ibex, called "skeen'' by the 
natives, is larger than the ibex of Europe, and 
equally difiB.cult to approach. Some of our 
servants disturbed a large number of them who 
had ventured down the mountain to drink at 
the torrent that same evening. We set men to 
watch for them at the same spot next day, but 
the wary creatures had taken fright, and did not 
repeat their visit to the stream. 

A d^k arrives next morning before we are out 
of bed. There is a letter from Buckley, who is 
only three marches behind us, and begs us to 
wait for him. A halt is ordered in consequence, 
and scouts are sent in all directions to look out 
for ibex. 

A bleak spot is this Zing-Zing-beer, well 
worthy of its barbarous appellation. It is situate 
about half-way up the Bara Lacha Pass, and 
must be at least fourteen thousand feet above 

138 Travels in Ladah^ 

the level of the sea. Our onward path led across 
a snow-bridge to our left, and so up the pass. 

These snow-bridges appeared to be formed by 
the fall of a petty avalanche from the heights 


above into the stream below, which for the in- 
stant it dams up, but the current soon finds its 
way underneath the soft substance without dis- 
turbing the surface of it, and continues its course 


Tartary^ and Kashmir, 139 

as before. The snow-bed, though thus under- 
I mined, does not give way; loose stones and 
gravel from the mountain- sides roll down and 
cover it, protecting it from the sun, and it stands 
for months as good a bridge as man could wish. 

The 5th of August passed wearily by — 
Buckley did not make his appearance — the 
scouts return without news of game — we turn 
in early, and sleep dull care away ! 

" Master ! see ! big pheasant near to tent ; 
Lord Sahib have gone to shoot/' It was 
Terrear's voice which roused me, and I tumbled 
out of bed. In another moment two reports, 
rapidly following each other, told me that the 
" Ofiicial Friend" had fired " right and left." A 
minute after he passed by my tent-door, trium- 
phant, but very cold and sleepy. He had shot a 
couple of snow-pheasants, and was going to bed 

The snow-pheasant is an enormous bird, only 
found in or near the snow. Its colour, a dubious 
sort of neutral tint, is hardly distinguishable 
from the rocks on which it loves to dwell ; it 
rarely flies, trusting to its sturdy legs rather than 

140 Travels in Ladak^ 

its pinions for safety when threatened with 

We breakfasted in camp an hour or two later. 
The wild cry of the snow-pheasant came shrilly 
down from the mountain on our left ; it was the 
mother calling her two chicks, who were, for the 
best of reasons, deaf to her entreaties. She will 
not believe that they cannot come to her ; and 
her note, now soft and plaintive, now loud and 
imperative, sounds near and nearer, till the 
" Official Friend," seizing his gun, strides off in 
her direction with bloody intent. Almost at the 
same moment an excited native rushes in, and 
says there is another big pheasant quite close, 
and burning to rival the deeds of the Lord 
Sahib, the author hurries to the spot. 

I find Chumpa shouting, gesticulating, and 
pointing at something which is running up the 
mountain-side well out of shot. With fervent 
blessings on the wretch who had frightened the 
bird hovering on my lips, I rush off in pursuit, 
closely followed by Isree, and after a rapid 
scramble of a few hundred yards, I catch sight 
of a gigantic pheasant perched on a ledge of 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 141 

rock above me, looking down with a shrewd, 
" I am a young man from the country " sort of 
expression, and evidently watching my slow pro- 
gress with the utmost contempt. I raise my 
gun for a steady "pot," but at the motion 
the bird hops down the other side of the rock 
out of sight, and a minute after I see him con- 
tinuing his rapid flight far out of range again. 
Isree and I decide that there is no use following 
the brute. The exasperating fowl could give us 
fifty yards in a hundred and beat us up that 
steep slope, and I retrace my steps in no enviable 
state of mind, with the pheasant's cry ringing in 
my ears tauntingly. " But you can't come over 
me," it said distinctly more than once. 

I must say that I thought the "Official Friend" 
most disagreeable all that forenoon; the airs 
which he thought proper to give himself on the 
strength of having shot a long-legged fowl, more 
like a "cochin china" than a pheasant, were 
positively revolting, and his affected sneer at my 
want of success offensive in the last degree. 

I confided my sentiments to the Major, who 
perfectly coincided with me. " Shooting in these 

142 Travels in Ladak^ 

" (I will omit the adjectives with which he 

strengthened his very sensible remark), " shoot- 
ing in these hills/' said the Major, " is all 

rot ! " 

Excelsior ! Higlier and still higher we climb, 
till filling up a round basin in the solid rock, a 
clear, deep lake, of about a mile in circumference, 
meets our view. This is considered to be the 
source of the Surag-bhaga portion of the 

We rest awhile on its bank, and talk very 
pluckily about bathing, but without the slightest 
intention of committing any such imprudence. An- 
other half-hour's walk brought us to the summit 
of the pass, sixteen thousand five hundred feet. 

It was a beautiful clear day. A long valley 
stretched away to oar right, bounded by heights 
covered with thick snow ; the surface of the 
ground was wet and spongy like that of the 
Eotang Pass, but the level space on the top was 
much more extensive ; without exaggeration, it 
might be called a plain. 

T took a hurried sketch of the view, looking 
])ack on the track we had passed over, and the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 143 

photographer took two very successful views. It 
is probable that photography was never before 
practised at such an altitude. The result showed 
how admirably the process is adapted faithfully 
to represent snowy heights. 

After crossing the plain we commenced a 
gradual descent along the left bank of a rivulet 
which took its rise on the summit of the pass. 
Frequent torrents now crossed our path, all flow- 
ing into the rivulet on our right, which increased 
rapidly in volume, till after a mile or two it 
flowed into a lake of singular stillness, about 
three miles round. 

This lake is called the Yunam lake, and the 
rivulet which flows out again on the other side 
is, after his baptism in the lake's yellow waters, 
called the Yunam river. 

We skirted the left bank of this little lake, 
and then, following the course of the Yunam 
river, commenced a rapid descent through a very 
chaos of mighty fragments of red rock, which lay 
grouped about in grotesque attitudes, and pitched 
our tents on a small grassy plain which stretched 
j below. 




144 Travels in Ladak^ 

It was on this little plain that we first saw the 
marmot {Arctomys TJiibetensis). It was quite a 
marmot warren. Their call is a peculiar shrill 
whistle, and they have immense confidence in the 
fancied celerity with which they can betake 
themselves to their holes on the approach of 
danger. They mil sit on the mound of earth 
above their burrow, and let you approach, gun in 
hand, within ten paces, before they take refuge in 
it ; and even then they pause to utter a warning 
note — a delay which is fatal to them. We shot 
two or three : theu' fur is soft and thick, and of 
a rich brown, much esteemed by the natives. 

At about four o'clock that afternoon Buckley 
and his friend walked into camp. Their story 
did not reflect much credit on their forethought. 
They had wasted precious time at starting, and 
had latterly pushed on so eagerly that they liad 
outstripped their followers and tired out them- 
selves. Their servants and baggage were still on 
the other side of the Pass. 

A good dinner and a long night's rest did 
them a " power" of good ; and next morning we 
continued our march. The reader may possibly 

Tartar and Kashmir, 145 

recollect the bottle of beer so magnanimously 
left for tbem at Dilass. They found the bottle ; 
but not one drop of its precious contents was 
fated to pass their lips. Improvident youths ! 
they did not possess a corkscrew, so seizing the 

bottle in feverish haste they proceed to knock its 
head off; but in his eagerness the headsman fails 
to hit fairly the slender neck ; a clumsy, ill- 
directed side-stroke smashes the bottle, which, in 
revenge for such brutal treatment, cuts the bun- 
gler's fingers, and the liquor is spilt. This is a 
fair example of the not wholly undeserved ill- 
luck that pursued them throughout. 

A nine-mile march along a plain about half- 
a-mile broad brought us to the confines of La- 

146 Travels in Ladah^ 

houl, and we encamped near the left bank of the 
Lingtee river — the boundary between it and 
Ladak. Next day we should enter the terri- 
tory of the Maharajah of Kashmir. 

A storm of wind and dust arose shortly after 
the tents were pitched, and caused us some in- 
convenience, for a tent is no protection against 
dust. This was followed by a small shower of 
hail, which had the effect of partially laying the 
dust, and the evening was calm enough. 

We delayed starting next day for some hours, 
in the hope that the baggage of our new comrade 
would come up : this delay was nearly fatal to 
the precious boxes containing the camera and 
other paraphernalia appertaining to photography. 
Many of these mountain streams, fed as they are 
almost entirely by the melting of the snow, are 
easily fordable in the early morning, but later in 
the day become impassable ; and again at night, 
when the frost checks the thaw (caused by the 
mid-day sun, dwindle back into fordable insigni- 

So it was with the Lingtee river, which we 
did not cross till nearly eleven o'clock. It was 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 147 

as much as the ponies could do to stem the 
current; and the coolies were obliged to join 
hands, and, thus linked together, struggle across 
in a long chain. The men carrying the photo- 
graphic boxes were about the centre of the line, 
and when in mid stream they stumbled and fell 
prone in the rushing water ; the whole line wa- 
vered for a moment, then with an effort join- 
ing again, minus the two broken links, reeled 
on to the opposite bank, regardless of the fate of 
their two fallen comrades, and mindful only of 
their own safety. 

The feelings of our artist at this mishap can 
be more easily imagined than described. His 
impassioned gestures — for we could not hear what 
he said, the roaring of the torrent drowned 
every other voice (and perhaps this was as well) 
— attracted the notice of Nurput, Noura, and a 
few others. The chosen band of Ladakhis, seeing 
Noura, good at need, about to rush in to the 
rescue, dropped their loads and ran to the assist- 
ance of their leader. Joining hands, the stalwart 
party reach the fallen wretches, and drag them 
and their loads by main force to shore. They 

L 2 

148 Travels in Ladak^ 

were only just in time ; anotlier minute of im- 
mersion and the men would have been drowned, 
and (which, between you and I, the artist thought 
of much more consequence) the boxes lost for 
ever ! 

Strange to say, nothing was broken, thanks to 
Terrear's good packing ; and thanks to the well- 
fitting lids of the stout brass-bound boxes, only 
a few plates got wet ; but it was long ere the 
photographer recovered his wonted equanimity. 

The few coolies who yet lingered on the wrong 
side of the river, preferring toil by land to perils 
by water, now turned up its bank some two or 
three miles to where a good bridge promised a 
secure transit. 

We did not see this bridge, but were told that 
it was a very good one, built and kept in repair 
by the ruler of Kashmir for the convenience of 
traders. Our thoughts naturally recurred to 
Koksar and its wretched bridge of twigs; and 
we marvelled at the apathy that admitted of a 
contrast so unfavourable to our rule. 

A little farther on we met a large drove of 
sheep and goats, to the number of five or six hun- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 149 

dred, laden with salt, borax, and puslim, bound 
for Eampoor on the Sutlej. A few Tartar shep- 
herds, and ladies dressed in the height of Thi- 
betan fashion, aided by a few sheep-dogs, were in 

We halted for breakfast on the right bank of 
the Lingtee river : shortly after the path turned 
suddenly to the right, and ascended by steep 
zigzags the pass known as the Lung Lacha. 
We chose as sheltered a position as we could 
find, about half way up it, and camped. 

Shortly after dark arrived the missing baggage 
— much to the delight of its owners. The ser- 
vants could not give a good account of them- 
selves ; but their woebegone appearance and foot- 
sore gait told the true story of their dilatoriness. 
They all complained more or less of pains in the 
head and fever : many of our own followers were 
in the same plight, but we had as yet escaped all 
the usual ill effects of sojourn at such an altitude. 

Next day we completed the ascent of the Lung 
Lacha (seventeen thousand feet) ; and descending 
gradually for some miles along a narrow and in 
many places very steep defile, we at last crossed 

150 Travels in Ladak^ 

and camped on the right bank of a little stream 
called the Leimgal. 

This was a long and weary march, the general 
character of the scenery being the same as before 
— rocky valleys overhung by snow-clad crags, 
and at intervals small plains covered with a 
scanty vegetation. At starting, the heights on 
our left took most fantastic forms ; they appeared 
to be composed of sandstone, deeply caverned in 
all directions, and their summits, broken into cas- 
tellated shapes, gave the appearance of a long 
line of lofty battlements. 

We met a party of merchants en route ; they 
had with them about thirty yaks laden with 
" churus," and were taking it to Mundi by the 
route we had traversed. We asked them how 
they intended to cross the Chundra, and they 
told us that at that point they would have to 
leave the yaks, place the churus on coolies, and 
so re-cross the twig bridge into Kulu : a tedious 
and expensive operation, which would detract 
greatly from their profits. 

These were merchants of a wealthy class, 
evidently, who did not go beyond Lc, but pur- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 151 

I chased their goods from the caravans which 
reach that mart from Yarkand ; but during the 
same march we came across others of a lower 
class, more like our pedlars, in fact. The com- 

! plaints of these men related mostly to the heavy 
duties levied by the Kashmir Maharajah, through 
his deputy the governor of Le, and the provisions 
of the late " Arms Act.'' 

They did not feel the want of their arms in 
our territory, said they, or even in Ladak ; but 
on the frontiers of that province, and beyond, 
they found themselves at the mercy of robbers, 
whose attacks they were formerly wont to resist 
with success. The Disarming Act, as far as 
regards firearms, is no doubt a most wise mea- 
sure, but it is open to question whether it is 
an equally wise policy to make it apply so uni- 
versally as it does to swords and spears as well 
as to guns and matchlocks, and also to all ranks 
of men without exception. 

The remarkable increase in the number and 
audacity of wild beasts since the Disarming Act 
has been enforced, is one great argument against 
it ; wolves, which always abounded in the 

152 Travels in LadaJc^ 

Punjab, now positively swarm, and day by day 
instances occur showing the brute's rapidly 
growing contempt for his natural sovereign, 
man, now that his brother man has bereft him 
of the means of self-defence. 

We were now at the foot of the great plain of 
Kyang, one of the loftiest in the world ; it 
stretches for five-and-thirty miles from the base 
of the Tung Lung Pass to the heights above 
the river on whose bank we halted, its breadth 
varying from two to five miles. 

In the summer months it is inhabited by a 
few shepherds, whose flocks delight to browse on 
its scanty but nutritious herbage ; but ere the 
approach of winter they leave the wild expanse 
to its native rulers — the wild horse, the mon- 
strous wild sheep, the hare, and the marmot. 

Our sick list is steadily on the increase ; poor 
Buckley is beginning to complain of pains in the 
head, and the " Official Friend" does not seem 
"quite the thing,*' but they both talk confidently 
of slaying a wild horse on the morrow. 

Our camp was a most picturesque one ; the 
tents, pitched on a narrow slip of ground between 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. J 53 

the stream and the steep mountain- side, gleamed 
white in the light of the fires which blazed at 
intervals up the slope, lighting up with their 
flickering flame the wild faces and forms grouped 
around them — " Just like a scene at the Prin- 
cesses," said the Major ; and so it was. 

The reason of all this festive light and heat 
was, that the hill- side was covered with the 
Thibetan furze ; this makes capital fuel, and for 
" this night only" our poor fellows were warm. 

A steep ascent of about half a mile brought 
us next morning on to the plain. Here we 
separate, and agree to meet again at breakfast in 
a few hours, at whatever point it might please 
Ali Bux to give it us. 

We have no stirring adventure to tell of at 
our rendezvous. We have all seen wild horses, 
but none have succeeded in getting within fair 
rifle-shot of them, and, disgusted with our failures 
in the stalking line, have returned to seek con- 
solation in breakfast and chat. 

The Kyang, or v^ild horse of Thibet, has been 
treated with foul calumny by some writers, who 
insist that he is an ass, not a horse ; that he is of 

154 Travels in Ladak^ 

the genus asimis, not equus. Our acquaintance 
with him was a most distant one ; for he very 
wisely never permitted any one of us to approach 
near enough to take a certain aim at any vital 
part, so not wishing merely to wound him, we 
never fired at all : now this procedure on his 
part clearly proves him to be no donhey. Another 
fact, and to my mind a very conclusive one, 
is that he "neighs" — a shrill, clear, defiant 
" neigh," — as different from the nasal " bray" of 
the animal they would liken him to, as his erect 
and arched neck, and swift, out-stepping trot, 
differ from the gait and bearing of the bray- 
ing" creature. 

The hunters of horses pursue their sport later 
in the day ; but when we meet that evening, at 
the black tents of Eukchin, nothing has been 
bagged but a few hares, which fell to my gun. 

Eukchin is an encampment of Tartar shep- 
herds, whose low tents of black goat's-hair cloth 
nestle in a little valley which debouches on the 
plain. A little brook flows down it, and around 
it the grass grows thick and green amid large 
clumps of furze; thousands of sheep and goats and 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 155 

a few yaks cover tlie low hills which bound it, 
dappled low though they are by frequent broad 
patches of snow. The flocks are driven down 
into the valley at night, and a cordon of vigilant 


sheep-dogs, whose baying makes the night 
hideous, prevents them from straying. 

The chief of this little nomad tribe was a 
tall spare man, well dressed in a long wrapper of 
thick woollen cloth, confined at the waist by a 
gay-coloured scarf of Eussian silk ; on his head 
was a close-fitting skull-cap of sheepskin, and 
long boots of Eussia -leather clothed his legs to 
the knees ; he was armed with sword and dagger, 
and carried in his right hand one of the small 
flail-shaped riding-whips invariably used by the 

156 Travels in Ladah^ 

Tartars ; in fact, I had not seen anything so like 
a Cossack of the Don since I left the Crimea. 
He turned round, and all resemblance vanished ; 
for, pendant from under the cap of sheepskin hung 
a long, tapering, glossy, carefully-plaited genuine 
Chinaman's tail — a tail a mandarin would have 
been proud of. We now observed that all the 
"gentle shepherds" wore tails, though none 
could compare in length and glossiness with the 
tail of their chief. 

Next morning Buckley felt worse, and more 
of the servants were "down" with fever. Our 
camp is rapidly becoming a little hospital, and \ 
to give the sick people the rest they are so i 
clamorous for, we agree to halt. j 

Taking a Tartar with me as a guide, I start | 
on an expedition against the hares. Though 
ignorant of holy writ, this sporting shepherd 
evidently knows that the " rocks are a refuge for | 
the conies." He took me for three or four miles \ 
straight across the plain to where the usual | 
undulating slope of the low hills which hemmed 
it in was broken into a steep, rocky precipice. ; 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 157 

This lie proceeds to scale, cautiously peering over 
every stone, and looking round angrily when my 
less-practised foot makes a stumble or dislodges a 
stone. At last he beckons eagerly and points. 
I can see nothing, but guessing his meaning, and 
unable to express in pure Thibetan my horror 
at the notion of shooting a hare sitting, I pick 
up a stone and throw it in the direction he is 
indicating ; out jumps a fine big fellow from 
close to where my missile fell ; another second 
and he rolls over with a charge of IsTo. 8 shot 
in him ; after this the Tartar evidently conceives 
a higher opinion of me, and we have very fair 
sport, returning much heavier laden than when 
we started. 

Poor Buckley is no better — his head is burn- 
ing, he says, and he is feverish and weak ; so we 
halt one more day and bag more hares, and, to 
our delight, in a rocky glen about three miles 
from camp, some more snow pheasants. Hare 
soup, roast pheasant, and jugged hare now form 
a most agreeable change to the toujours mouton of 
our camp dinners. 

158 Travels in Ladak^ 

A Ladakhi calls the hare rihonq^, or the hill 
ass, on account of its long ears, and for the same 
reason wont eat him, thinking him a species of 
donkey ! Poor little hare ! it is not Ite that is 
the ass ! ! Those we shot were fine plump 
fellows — quite as large as English hares — and 
finely flavoured. 

On the afternoon of the second day the Major 
and I rode over the range of hills which hound 
the plain on the right, to the shores of a large 
salt lake called the Tsho Kar, or White Lake. 
We saw an immense number of wild fowl, but 
they were too wary to give us a chance of a shot. 
They sat pluming themselves within about 
one hundred yards of the bank, using for 
toilette-glass the still surface of the lake, and, 
odd to say, wouldn^t " come and be killed." 

The water is, to judge from its villanous 
flavour, highly medicinal; and I recommend it 
to the faculty as a genuine Tartar emetic. A 
thick saline crust covered the shores of the lake. 
" Away to the south," said our guide, " is a small 
fresh -water lake ;" but we had not time to test 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 159 

tlie truth of his story. This piece of fresh water 
is, however, mentioned by Cunningham,* who 
says that it flows into the salt-water lake, and 
he computes the size of the latter at about five 
miles in length and two and a half in breadth. 

* Vide Cunningliain's Laddk, page 140. 


Travels in Ladah^ 

chin, and slowly wended our way over the plain 
to the foot of the Tung Lung Pass. I say slowly, 
for the number of effectives" in camp was dimi- 
nishing daily, and nearly all our baggage was 
carried on slow-stepping yaks. It was a bitterly 
cold day, for thick clouds obscured the sun, and 
towards evening snow fell thick. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 161 

Many names are added to the sick-list to- 
night, including that of the "Official Friend," 
who, in addition to the tortures of headache 
produced by the rarified atmosphere we had so 
long been living in, is now suffering from severe 
intermittent fever. 

The climate of this elevated plain is certainly 
very trying. To a solar heat at noon-day many 
degrees hotter than in any part of India, suc- 
ceeds at night a cold so intense that even during 
the summer months it freezes almost every night. 
To a day spent, as it were, in the desert of 
Sahara, succeeds a night of Arctic frigidity. 

I more than once, when riding over this plain 
of Kyang, experienced the delusion of the 
" mirage." I had ridden far and fast, enticed on 
and on by the distant gambols of a wild horse, 
who every now and then would stop, and paw 
the earth, and gaze wonderingly on the strange 
creature approaching him ; then, tossing his head 
and neighing shrilly, would vanish in a streak of 
dust, so rapid was his flight ; and when this dust 
had cleared away, would be seen grazing peace- 
ably half-a-mile ofl". I give up the vain pursuit, 


162 Travels in Ladak, 

and turn to retrace my steps. It is noon ; the 
snn's rays beat down fiercer and fiercer ; my eye- 
balls aclie with tlie glare, and the whole expanse 
around me seems to dance and quiver in the 
fervent heat. Then on the horizon would appear 
a cool sheet of water. I reason with myself 
about it, and wrestle and fight against the 
strange belief in what I know to be a cheat, 
which still gains ground despite my calmer judg- 
ment. I cry aloud that it is a delusion and a 
snare. But I lie ; my heart believes it to be water; 
and my senses are now revelling in the anticipa- 
tion of a cool delight which my intellect tells me 
is unreal ; and when the distance that had lent 
its enchantment to the view was passed, and the 
cheat was palpable and evident, though mockery 
was on my tongue, and a sneer on my lips, as I 
said to them, " Lo ! did I not tell ye so yet 
on my too credulous senses disappointment 
weighed bitterly. 

Next morning we mount the Tung Lung Pass, 
seventeen thousand five hundred feet. It is 
not a long climb, for we camped at an elevation 
of at least sixteen thousand feet, but it is very 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 163 

steep ; and the snow which, fell in the night, and 
now covers the path to the depth of three or 
four inches, retards our progress a great deal. 


But the summit once reached we descend rapidly 
I for some miles, and as evening comes on enter 
j the picturesque town of Ghya. 

M 2 

164 Travels in Ladah^ 

Grliya is built on the left bank of a small stream, 
which rises in the Tung Lung Pass, and along 
which our path had wound ; the heights bound- 
ing the valley on the town side rise in a gradual 
slope, but from the right bank of the stream 
rises a mighty precipice of many-coloured rock ; 
there is a deep cleft in this just opposite the town, 
in which stands a detached cone-shaped rock of 
considerable height, on the very summit of which 
is perched a Gonpa, or Boodhist monastery. 

To all outward seeming Grhya possesses a most 
religious population ; its suburbs are a mass of 
saintly edifices, of " manis " and " Tchoktens," 
of a much more imposing appearance than were 
the few we had as yet seen in Lahoul. The 
manis " are long, low walls of stone, varying 
from ten or fifteen feet to many furlongs in 
length; in breadth they are generally about 
twelve feet, and their summits are covered with 
flat stones and slates of various shapes and sizes, 
but all bearing the same inscription — the mystic 
words,* " Om mani padme JiomJ' The proper 
translation of this universal prayer of the Boodhist 

* Vide Prinsep's Tibet, Tartary, and Mongolia, p. 7. 


Tartary^ and Kashmir, 165 

is, " the jewel in the lotus ! Amen 1 " mean- 
ing " Boodh ! who hast been absorbed and in- 
corporated in the Divine essence like the jewel- 
shaped mark in the lotus flower." 

These slabs of slate and stone are sold by the 
Lamahs or priests to the pious, in the same 
manner as " indulgences " are in the Church of 
Eome ; and mighty indeed is their fancied effi- 
cacy, insuring success in all his enterprises to 
the believing purchaser, who, on receiving his 
slab of stone, lays it with all due ceremony on 
the " mani " nearest his village or house. The 
village mani, therefore, rapidly increases in ex- 
tent, and from its size a very fair estimate of 
the prevalence of religious feeling amongst 
the inhabitants may be calculated. The star of 
Boodh is setting, to judge from the antiquated 
appearance and dilapidated state of most of the 
edifices raised in his honour. 

The "Tchoktens" or "offering receptacle," and 
the " Dungten" or " bone-holder" — for they are of 
the same shape — are pyramidal structures vary- 
ing in size ; the former are shrines for offerings, 
the latter monuments or mausolea, erected in 

166 Travels in Ladak^ 

memory of some deceased lamah, or grandee. A 
mythical monster, resembling greatly the fiery 
dragon that adorns the " old China/' so valued 
by our female relatives of a certain age, is usually 
painted on the outside. 

We observed a change in the dress of the men 
here ; instead of a close-fitting skull-cap, a 
slouching cap of rough woollen cloth, generally 
black, was worn ; grass shoes, too, had dis- 
appeared, and thick soled, square-toed boots, of 
which, to use an Irishism, " the upper leathers 
were of felt,'' had taken their place, much 
apparently to the comfort of the wearer ; above 
these, greaves of felt, reaching from the knee 
downwards, and confined by long garters of black 
coarse braid, neatly wound round them, helped 
still further to protect their nether man. 

Next morning we were forced to retract 
the conclusion we had come to the evening 
before, regarding the serious-mindedness of 
the good people of Ghya; for, behold! in 
the midst of our coolies, the raggedest and 
wretcliedest of all, some half-dozen red-robed 
"lamahs" were squabbling! There must be a 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 167 

great tightness in the " mani " market, but a 
small demand for the stones with mystic inscrip- 
tions, or these holy men would never have been 
reduced to carrying a heavy portmanteau fifteen 
miles over rough ground, for the small remunera- 
tion of a three-penny bit, and in the service of 
heretics, too ! Verily, the sacerdotal profession 
must be at a low ebb ! We had been studying 
Mr. Buckle's second volume, and had serious 
thoughts of delighting him by an account of this 
priestly degradation. 

Let us hope that this augurs well for the 
future success of our worthy friends at Rye- 

From Grhya our road followed the rivulet 
through a deep gorge, in parts so narrow that, to 
enable travellers to walk dryshod, the path had 
with some ingenuity been raised on a kind of 
rude causeway above the waters of the stream, 
which filled up the bottom of the gorge, and but 
for this rough engineering would have covered 
the footway. Anon it opened out, and here 
little patches of green sward appear lining either 
bank, and willows droop their graceful boughs in 

168 Travels in Ladak^ 

the stream, which here flowed peacefully without 
a ripple, and — 

" Yellow flowers 
For ever gazed on their own drooping eyes 
Reflected in the crystal calm." 

But always on the right hand and on the left 
rose a rugged barrier of red rock, so lofty and 
perpendicular that we could see but a narrow 
strip of the blue sky above. This lasted for 
some miles, but we did not weary of our lateral 
prison, after the wide expanse of arid plain we 
had so lately traversed. The sense of confine- 
ment was pleasant ; besides, our prison walls 
were ever varying. Now caverned and mys- 
terious, they seemed to invite the explorer ; now 
solid and impenetrable, they defied escape ; and at 
times up their face, leading from the water's 
brink to the summit, cut sharp and clear as 
though witii the graver's chisel, would run 
strange, straight, broad furrows ; these were the 
channels the melting snow of ages had worn for 
itself through the softer veins of the rock. 

The defile widened at last into a small well- 
cultivated valley, on the left of which, built high 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 169 

on the face of the cliff, was a good sized village 
called Miru. 

Its appearance was most picturesque. There 
was no attempt at regularity ; the laws of street- 
architecture had been utterly ignored ; wherever 
a ledge of rock afforded a foundation, there stood 
a flat-roofed, white- washed house, standing out 
from its red background with cameo-like dis- 
tinctness. Above all towered the house of the 
Lamah, and dotted here and there, little pyra- 
midal shrines and monuments relieved the 
monotony of the flat roofs. 

After Miru the valley again narrowed, but the 
character of its sides changed ; they were now 
composed of a mass of soil with pebbles deeply 
embedded in it — a " sort of pudding-stone," in 
fact.* This was soft and fragile, and the narrow 
defile was all covered with fragments which had 
become detached, and falling in the stream below 
made its course wayward and tortuous, and 
added greatly to the steepness and difficulty of 
our path. 

We halted at Ugshi, a small village situate in 

* Vide Moorcrofb, page 234. 

170 Travels in Ladak^ 

the angle formed by the confluence of the little 
Glja river and the mighty Indus, which, even at 
this point, was no inconsiderable stream. It is 
called the Sinh-kha-bab, or Lion's mouth, 
descended by the Thibetans. 

We had, for the last two marches, been rapidly 
descending, and were now at an elevation of 
about twelve thousand feet. The change of 
climate consequent on this difference of altitude 
had most beneficial effects on our invalids, who 
vowed that nothing should ever induce them to 
visit the elevated plains of Eukchin again. 

Next day we journeyed for about nine miles 
along the left bank of the Indus. The first part 
of our march was over a bare, stony plain, 
utterly destitute of green, and surrounded by 
bleak, snow- tipped mountains ; it widened out 
as we advanced, and in the distance began to 
appear belts of trees, promising from afar off 
shade and relief from glare and heat. As we 
approached we could distinguish enclosures care- 
fully planted, gardens, and houses — a pleasant 
prospect enough, but strikingly suggestive of a 
Chinese drawing, so strangely formal was the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 171 

effect of the straight lines of green on a yellow 
ground, intersecting each other at right angles, 
that we half doubted the correctness of nature's 
own perspective. This quaint air of stiffness was 
caused by the necessity there was of constantly 
irrigating that parched soil^ — for rain is almost 
unknown in Ladak — and the cultivation clung 
close to the sides of the watercourses, and ceased 
altogether when the moisture from the little 
stream could no longer affect it. So between 
these grateful rows of verdure "in the barren 
and dry places where no water was," stretched in 
its starveling nudity the famished plain again. 

Where it got enough to drink, this thirsty soil 
was by no means ungrateful ; for a little further 
on we saw fields of wheat that seemed to 
promise an ample harvest ; apricots, too, and 
apples were brought us in basketfuls, the former, 
however, you must be very hot and tired 
thoroughly to appreciate, and the latter are only 
eatable when stewed or baked with an " intoler- 
able deal " of sugar. 

We pitched our tents in one of these gardens, 
and shortly after were waited upon by the 

172 Travels in Ladah^ 

Kahlone of Le. He was of an old Ladakhi 
family, and at that time the principal man in the 
capital ; for the Grovernor, Basti Eam, had grown 
too old and feeble to hold the reins of Grovern- 
ment, and had, some months before, retired to his 
home in the valley of Kishtawar, there to spend 
the last days of his active life in peace ; a suc- 
cessor had not as yet been appointed by the 
Maharajah of Kashmir, so this Ladakhi was in 
the mean time the nominal governor. 


Kahlone is an old Thibetan title, and in the 
old days before the Dogra dynasty signified 


Tartary^ and Kashmir. 173 

" Prime Minister." Our new friend's " brief 
authority," however, failed to gain for him much 
respect from the garrison, for he was accompanied 
by a Sikh officer, who treated him with but scant 
courtesy, and took no pains to disguise the fact 
that he held him in contempt as one of a con- 
quered race. 

Our curiosity had been excited by the descrip- 
tion of a large monastery in the neighbourhood, 
and in the afternoon we made a pilgrimage to it. 
It was about three miles off, up in the recesses of 
the mountain range to our left. The gorge in 
which it was situate was completely hid from 
sight by a projecting promontory of rock which 
formed a natural screen in front ; but this once 
passed, the convent stood before you. In front 
and close to you rustled a grove of green poplars, 
flanked by enormous tcJioktens and manis. On the 
right of this the path leads ; while above, on 
every projecting piece of rock, were flat-roofed 
buildings surmounted by square towers, white- 
washed for the most part, and painted near the 
top with broad bands of red. The cliffs above 
were of immense height, but on every peak, as 

174 Travels in Ladak^ 

far as the eye could distinguisli, perched these 
little buildings. We followed the pathway, and, 
passing under a large gateway, stood in the outer 
court of the principal edifice, which had been 
hid from us by the poplar grove. 


It was many-windowed, and several stories in 
height ; square in shape, with an open quadrangle 
in its centre. At each corner was a square tower, 
on the top of which flags waved, and strange 
figures in red robes and mitre-like caps walked 
solemnly, and blew sonorous, deep-sounding 
trumpets, and beat drums. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 11 h 

Standing in groups in the courtyard were 
some sixty or seventy priests, all clothed in long 
robes of red confined by a red girdle round the waist 

I — their boots even were red. Most were bare- 


' headed, and their hair was either cropped short 
or clean shaven ; but some few wore high hats 


bulging out towards the top; these, too, were 
red, and their wearers appeared to be dignitaries 
of the church. 

They told us that the buildings above were 

176 Travels in Ladah^ 

now not occupied, and that they were fast fall- 
ing into ruin. The fact was it was very cold up 
there, and these degenerate descendants of the 
"monks of old" had built for themselves this 
warmer, grander place of worship down below. 

We went over the monastery, which was just 
the church of Gurooguntal over again on a larger 
scale. Amongst other things we were shown with 
great pride a monster praying wheel ; the cylinder 
was at least ten feet in height and five or six 
feet in diameter, and it was hard work for two 
priests to turn it. 

These praying cylinders were the great feature 
of the place, and were of all sizes ; the smallest 
were about the size of humming-tops, and re- 
sembled that toy in shape. They are called 
chos-khor, and are carried in the lamah's right 
hand — the handle being the axis on which they 

They turn at the slightest movement ; and 
as each revolution counts as one prayer, it is 
easy to carry on an animated conversation, and 
get through any amount of prayers to Boodh 
at the same time. 


Tartary^ and Kashmir, 111 

Others, a little larger, were placed in shelves 
along the walls about the height of a man's 
waist. The pious in passing always give these a 
twirl. But the most perfect specimen of this 
business-like way of getting over their spiritual 
duties practised by the Boodhists of Ladak, 
was a little water mill which we noticed a short 
time after, near a village. The stream turned the 
mill-wheel, which was nothing more or less than 
a prayer cylinder, and revolved unceasingly — as 
long as the stream flowed on, so long would its 
devotions last. Unlike a " friar of orders grey," 
apt to fall asleep over his beads, and to shirk the 
number of aves which have been bargained for, 
this charming little mechanical contrivance never 
stopped to take breath — never slept — never left 
off for meals; but prayed continually, and all 
" free, gratis, for nothing." 

He was certainly no fool, whatever else he 
may have been, who invented the praying wheel ! 

We now were ushered into the part of the 
building set apart for Divine service ; it was a 
good-sized room, capable of holding two or three 
hundred people ; cushions were laid across it in 



178 Travels in Ladak^ 

parallel rows for tlie congregation to kneel on ; 
and tlie officiating priests, to the nnmber of 
fifteen or twenty, sat in rows on cushions raised j 
a little above the floor. i 
It was not the time for regular service, but j 
they made no objection to giving us a private | 
performance. The priest who sat on the right | 
opened a book, rang a little bell, and commenced 
intoning in a low voice — we could distinguish 
the prayer Om mani padme liom recurring very 
often. His monotonous chant was soon taken 
up by the priest next him, and quickly swelled 
into a regular chorus ; then the instruments 
chimed in, and the clashing of cymbals, the \ 
tinkling of triangles, the braying of trumpets, i 
and the roll of drums sounded at intervals, j 
Suddenly, a deep, prolonged roar drowned all 
other sound; it proceeded from two enormous i 
trumpets that stretched along the floor, the \ 
mouths of these instruments and a few feet of ; 
their length were alone visible — the performers i 
being seated in a dark cloister beyond. This j 
appeared to be the signal for redoubled exertion, ' 
and the intoning, the clashing, the tinkling, the | 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 179 

drumming, the braying pealed louder and louder 
in a rapid crescendo. But the pace was too good 
to last ; symptoms of distress were soon 
apparent after this " grand crash and at last, 
to our great relief, the instruments began to drop 
off, one by one ; then the intoners began to think 
they had had enough of it, and soon nought but 
the monotonous mumble of the old lamah on 
the right was audible, and so the service ended. 

I fancy that this was ar sort of extravaganza, 
got up for our especial benefit ; for apart from 
the more general points of resemblance, such as 
the monastic life, the tonsured head, and flowing 
robes of these people, I could trace but little of 
that striking similitude in the details of the 
service to the customs of the Church of Eome 
which is so insisted on by others. The carica- 
ture seemed to me too monstrous to be appre- 
ciated ; but Jacquemont writes : — 

" Le grand lamah de Kanum a la mitr^ et la 
crosse episcopales, il est vetu comme ses prelats ; 
un connaisseur superficiel prendrait, a distance, sa 
messe Thibetaine et Boudhiste pour une messe 
romaine du meilleur aloi. II fait alors vingt 
N 2 

180 Travels in Ladah^ 4 

genuflexions a divers intervalles, se tourne vers 
rantel et vers le penple tour a tour, agite une 
sonnette, boit dans un calice d'eau que lui verse 
un acolyte ; il marmonne des patenotres sur le 
meme air ; de tout point c'est une resemblance 
cboquante."* No doubt, bad we seen a grand 
mass we should have been equally struck with 
the resemblance. 

Jacquemont goes on to say that Christians of 
robust faith argue from all this that Boodhism is 
but a corruption of Christianity — an argument 
which can be maintained on sentimental grounds 
only. One would think, too, that such 
" robustly " believing Christians would be slow 
to admit the possibility of Christianity becoming 
corrupted to such an extent. 

My friend the Major of Cavalry declared that 
the service we saw performed was exactly like 
the " Eailway Overture," as performed by the 
Ethiopian Serenaders. 

Tea a la Tartare was now handed round in 
China cups, and after it Hqueurs were produced 
in the shape of cliang, Chang is the only 
* Correspondancej page 260. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 181 

spirituous beverage made by tbe Ladakhis ; it 
owes its being to John Barleycorn, and when 
distilled is of a pale straw colour. It was not 
agreeable to the taste, and seemed highly 
deficient in strength. 

We mentioned this latter peculiarity to our 
Sikh friend, who assured us that it was never- 
theless within the bounds of possibility to get 
most outrageously drunk upon it. This was 
thought a capital joke by the "Kahlone," and 
the one Lamah who understood a little Hin- 
doostanee. It was soon retailed, with additions 
of his own no doubt, to his brother priests, and 
profane laughter shook the walls of Boodh. 

The fact is, they are very jolly dogs, these 
Botis of Ladakh. Every domestic, event is with 
them the signal for merry-making, of which 
cJian^ is the principal feature. The clergy are, 
as a matter of course, invited to all these feasts, 
and enjoy themselves (wh}^ should they not?) fully 
as much as the laymen. 

We marvelled at the number of these monks, 
but were told that every family, in which there 
is more than one son, devotes a member of it to 

182 Travels in Ladah^ 

the priestliood. To judge from the appearance 
of our monkish friends, it is the "fool of the 
family/' I fear, who is generally selected for the 
holy profession. 

Before leaving we were conducted to an out- 
building, where was a large furnace, above which, 
embedded in solid masonry, were two monstrous 
iron caldrons, of great circumference, but rather 
shallow. " In these," said they, " tea and soup 
are cooked on grand occasions, and then ladled 
out through the door to pilgrims, beggars, and 
others." The door was in two parts ; the upper 
half could be opened for the distribution of the 
good things, while the other half remained barred 
against the crowd that besieged it : a buttery- 
hatch, in fact. 

Great expense, they told us, was incurred by 
this wholesale giving of food, and the smallest 
subscription towards the convent fands would, 
they hinted, be, even from the hands of heretics, 
gratefully accepted. 

, It was two marches to Le, a little over twenty 
miles ; but the KaJilone promised us as many 

Tartary, and Kashmir. 183 

coolies and ponies as we could possibly want, and 
we determined to make the double march. 

We left Marchalang early, and followed the 
left bank of the Indus for about ten miles to 
a village called Chachot, through a valley that 
increased in width and fertility at every step. 
Chachot was a long straggling hamlet. The 
houses were large and well-built, with balconied 
windows, each standing on its own little piece of 
farm-land. They were generally whitewashed, 
and looked quite comfortable, reminding one of 
an English farm-house. On the roof of each was 
a thick pile of firewood and dry lucerne for 
winter use. 

We breakfasted in a plantation of poplars 
arranged in formal rows. We could find but 
little protection here from the perpendicular rays 
of the sun, and about noon continued our march. 
Our path led us now over broad grazing meadows, 
intersected with wet ditches, which supplied the 
smaller watercourses used for irrigation. Opposite 
us, on the other side of the river, built on a rocky 
eminence, was a castle, flanked by towers and 

184 Travels in Ladak^ 

surroTinded by a battlemented wall, and at its 
foot a straggling village reached close up to the 
walls that protected it ; while on the left bank 
villages, farm-houses, and cultivation grew more 
and more frequent. 

The sun was very powerful, and Buckley, who 
was still weak, felt it so much that he was obliged 
to take refuge in a garden and lie down in the 
shade. He had overrated his powers and was 
quite knocked up, so we contrived a rude litter 
for him, and when the sun's rays sank towards 
the west, had him carried on it into Le. 

The entrance to the capital is very striking. 
We crossed the Indus by a wooden bridge, then, 
leaving the river, and turning off towards the 
mountains, which still hemmed in the valley on 
either side, passed over the stoniest road in the 
world to where, in a long low range of rocky 
hills about two miles from the river, a sudden 
dip appeared; through this, we were told, we 
could see Le. 

After passing this range of hills we came on 
two manis^ nearly half a mile in length, and 
flanked by lofty tchoktens ; then came another 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 185 

narrow, steep, and rocky defile, up which the path 
wound. It was now quite dark; but the fre- 
quent Hghts, the hum of voices, and the barking 
of dogs told us we were in Le at last. 

The tents were pitched in a grove of poplar 
trees on the other side of the city, and here we 
found our comrades wondering at our non- 
appearance, and clamorous for dinner. 

It was the 17th August, exactly one month 
since the "official friend" and I rode out of 
Simla, during which we had crossed the Hima- 
layas and marched at least four hundred miles. 



Travels in Ladak^ 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 187 

conquerors. Before this tlie form of government 
had been a mild despotism, under rulers who 
bore the title of Gyalpo. They appear, with but 
one or two exceptions, to have been men of a 
weak and indolent character, content to leave the 
reins of government entirely in the hands of the 
Kahlone, or prime minister, and as long as the 
latter kept the royal coffers full, willingly sub- 
mitting to be a puppet in his hands. 

The post of Kahlone is, as we have before 
observed, still kept up, and held by a Ladakhi ; 
but he is no longer the all-powerful prime 
minister. All authority, whether real or nominal, 
is vested in the hands of the Sikh Governor at 
Le, who represents his master the Maharajah of 

In the year 1687-88 Ladak was overrun by 
the Kalmuck Tartars, and the then Gyalpo, unable 
to cope with his daring invaders, implored the 
aid of Kashmir, which at that time formed a 
part of the great Mogul empire. Thralim Khan, 
the Governor of Kashmir, referred the Gyalpo's 
request to Aurungzebe, the emperor, who per- 
mitted him to march to the aid of the Gyalpo on 

188 Travels in Ladak^ 

tlie condition that, for the future, Ladak should 
pay an annual tribute to Kashmir, and that 
the Gryalpo himself should become a Mahom- 
medan. These conditions were readily accepted. 
The Kashmiris routed the Tartar army ; and the 
Gyalpo, donning a green turban as became a true 
follower of the Prophet, resumed his former life 
of inglorious ease. 

From this date tribute continued to be paid 
annually to the Kashmir Grovernment, notwith- 
standing the latter's change of masters, and in 
1822 the Ladakhis were so apprehensive of the 
grasping policy of Runjeet Singh, and so con- 
scious of their own weakness, that, with a view 
to avert the invasion, which they knew was 
inevitable by other means, they made a volun- 
tary offer of allegiance to the British Government, 
and asked Moorcroft, at that time residing in 
Le, to become their medium of communication 
and to forward their tender of submission to 
Calcutta. Moorcroft, judging that such an offer 
could not but be acceptable to the Company, 
readily consented to do so; but not only was 
the offer declined, but severe censure was passed 
on Moorcroft for thus meddling in politics. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 189 

The invasion, so long dreaded by tlie Ladakhis, 
took place in 1834, when the Yuzeer Zorawur 
Singh was despatched with an army to conquer 
the province. 

The Ladakhis made a protracted resistance, 
but in the open field were no match for the 
warlike Sikhs, who treated their opponents with 
a contempt not unfounded indeed, but which 
was at times injudicious. The victors followed 
up each success with energy, but exhibited a want 
of precaution in the measures they adopted to 
secure their newly-acquired territory. Forts 
taken at the point of the sword were left gar- 
risoned by weak detachments, whose very insig- 
nificance induced revolt on the part of the 
partially subjugated people of Ladak, and it 
was nearly a year before the Sikh general could 
call the country his own. The length and 
rapidity of some of the marches made by the 
Dogras to check revolt and avenge the massacre 
of the small garrisons they had left behind them, 
are almost incredible. 

The conquest of Ladak completed, the am- 
bitious Vuzeer next formed the idea of subju- 

190 Travels in Ladah^ 

gating tlie province of Balti, situate to the 
north-east of Ladak. Its capital is Skardo ; 
and traditions exist to the effect that it was once 
called Iskandaria, and that it was one of the 
cities founded by Alexander the Great. It is 
watered by the Indus, and the country skirting 
its banks is more fertile than any part of Ladak, 
but the climate in winter is one of great seve- 
rity. Of this latter fact Zorawur Singh appears 
to have been unaware, for it was not till towards 
the close of the year that he commenced his march. 
At the first intelligence of the advance of the 
Sikhs, Ahmed Shah, the chief of Balti, prepared 
for an energetic defence ; and, to gain time, broke 
down the only bridge across the Indus, thus 
confining the operations of the invading army to 
the right bank of the river, along which they 
marched for twenty-five days in the hope of 
finding a practicable crossing-place. The hope 
was a vain one. Day after day the Indus rolled 
his deep and rapid flood along on their left hand, 
an impassable barrier. 

The Sikh troops began to grumble, pro- 
visions grew scarce, and, as a climax to their 

Tdrtary^ and Kashmir, 191 

misfortunes, a heavy fall of snow ushered in a 
winter of unusual severity. Of a force of five 
thousand men, detached from the main body to 
collect supplies and reconnoitre, only four 
hundred men returned to tell a disheartening 
tale of surprise, discomfiture, and rout, and for 
fifteen days the Dogra army remained inert, their 
numbers rapidly thinning by starvation and cold. 
Discipline was at an end, ruin stared them in the 
face, and death was busy in their ranks. 

The Balti army, camped on the other side the 
river, or comfortably housed in the villages 
which lined its bank, rejoicing in the cold which 
paralysed the Sikhs, watched their invaders dwin- 
dling in numbers day by day, content to leave 
to the elements, which fought so well for them, 
the glory of their foes' defeat. 

But it was fated that in this very severity 
of cold the shivering Sikhs should find, not only 
escape from their miseries but the means of 

Mehta Basti Eam, one of the chief officers of 
the expedition, whose resolution seems to have 
been undaunted by the difficulties which ap- 

192 Travels in Ladak^ 

palled the rest, had watched with daily increas- 
ing hope the freezing of the river. " Out of this 
nettle, danger, we pluck the flower safety," he 
muttered to himself, or would have muttered 
had he ever read Shakespeare; and one dark 
night, with only one follower, he examined the 
ice up and down for miles, while a small party of 
about forty Sikhs, whom his courage had inspired 
with some sparks of their former energy, kept 
up a smart fire on the Balti people, with a view 
to distract their attention from the daring ex- 

After an anxious search, and many a perilous 
trial, Basti Eam found a place where the river 
was completely frozen across. The ice at the 
sides was firm and strong, but that in the centre 
too weak to bear a man's weight ; but Basti 
Eam was as full of resources as he was of pluck. 
Hastening back to his firing party, he directed 
them to cut down trees, and carry them to the 
river bank ; these, laid across the weak parts of 
the ice, soon rendered the whole passable. 

Ere morning dawned our hero had crossed the 
Indus with his little party, now reduced to 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 193 

twelve men ; for ten, exhausted by their night's 
work, lay helpless on the ground ; and eighteen 
others were so benumbed with cold and exposure, 
that they could neither move through the snow 
nor handle their arms. 

The Balti people, perceiving how insignificant 
in numbers was this resolute little band, moved 
down rapidly to attack them ; but these thirteen 
men held their own until Zorawur Singh could 
arouse a few hundred of his soldiers from their 
torpor, and cross to their assistance. 

A general action followed, in which the men 
of Balti were defeated, with a loss of three hun- 
dred killed and wounded. The loss of the Sikhs 
in this affair was not more than forty killed and 
wounded, but the casualties caused by the frost 
were much more numerous. 

Zorawur Singh followed up his victory with 
energy, and pursued the enemy for nine miles, 
slaughtering many with the edge of that cruel 
tulwar the Sikhs so well know how to use on a 
flying foe. 

No further opposition was made to their ad- 
vance; the fort of Skardo was surrendered after 


194 Travels in Ladak^ 

a mere show of resistance ; and thns was Balti 
added to the possessions of the Maharajah of 

The provinces of Eudok and Garo, abounding 
in shawl wool, and studded with richly- endowed 
monasteries, next tempted the ambition and cu- 
pidity of the Vuzeer. The fear of exciting the 
wrath of the Chinese Government, to which these 
countries are subject, did not deter him from car- 
rying out his schemes of unscrupulous aggran- 
dizement; and in 1841 he marched an army of 
five thousand men up the valley of the Indus. 

Eudok and Garo submitted almost without a 
blow ; and the conquerors appear to have spread 
themselves over the country in small and widely- 
scattered detachments. Zorawur Singh esta- 
blished his head-quarters on the Sutlej, near its 
rise in the sacred lakes of Manasravara. Basti 
Eam was stationed close to the Nepaul frontier, 
while an officer named Ghulam Khan was spe- 
cially deputed to plunder the monasteries and 
desecrate the temples of Boodha. 

But a day of retribution was at hand ! Intel- 
ligence of the approach of a Chinese army, ten 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 195 

thousand strong, soon reached Zorawur Singh ; 
but flushed with his successes, the Sikh General 
had learned to despise his enemies, and he had 
the audacity to despatch a small force of about 
three hundred men to check the advance of the 
Lhassan army. This handful of men was cut to 
pieces, and hardly a man escaped. A similar 
fate attended a second force of six hundred men, 
sent for the same purpose ; on which, collecting 
all his available troops, Zorawur Singh marched 
in person to attack them. 

The two armies met, and kept up a desultory 
fire on each other for two days without much 
loss on either side ; but on the morning of the 
third day the Sikh General was struck by a ball, 
and fell from his horse. Taking advantage of 
the confusion caused by the fall of the Dogra 
leader, the Chinese charged and put the Sikh 
army to flight. The rout was complete, and the 
slaughter a most bloody one : with but few ex- 
ceptions those who escaped the sword of the 
Chinamen fell victims to the pitiless frost. 

But I cannot wind up my brief narrative 
without saying a word or two of excuse for wliat 

o 2 

196 Travels in Ladah^ 

may seem tlie pusillanimity of tlie Siklis on tins 
occasion. We must remember tliat it was mid- 
winter ; that tlieir battle-ground was at least fif- 
teen thousand feet above the level of the sea; 
that the temperature, even in mid-day, was never 
above freezing point — serious disadvantages, these, 
for Indians to fight under ! while their foes, nu- 
merically much superior, felt the cold no more 
than their opponents would have felt the oppres- 
siveness of an Indian sun. 

Our plucky friend Basti Eam, thinking that 
on this occasion " discretion was the better part 
of valour," and that he "that fights and runs 
away, may live to fight another day," escaped 
over the snows of the Himalayas into the British 
district of Kumaon. Let us not blame him. He 
had well won his spurs, and received substantial 
rewards for his Indus exploit ; and if urged to 
avenge his late leader's fall, might have said with 
that knowing soldier of Eome, " Ibit eo, quo vis, 
qui zonam perdidit!' Besides, he had no choice 
in the matter : any other course for him and hisl 
little garrison to take would have been madness. 

He afterwards succeeded Zorawur Singh in 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 197 

tlie Grovernorsliip of Ladak ; and, taking warn- 
ing by his predecessor's fate, attempted no con- 
i quests, but abode quietly in his capital, enriching 
himself by the arts of peace, and, his calumniators 
say, extortion, till feeling the hand of Time 
pressing heavily on him, and conscious of the 
infirmities of age, he begged permission to re- 
sign office, and pass the remainder of his days in 
retirement. Peace be with him ! Were that 
passage of the Indus his only exploit, he has 
deserved well of his country. 


Travels in Ladak^ 

shopping expedition a weary walk, we were not 
near enough to run the risk of being mobbed by 

inquisitive townsfolk. 

We spent three days at Lc, more for the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 199 

sake of our servants, who were weary and foot- 
sore, and our invalids, who sorely wanted rest, 
than for sight-seeing purposes. 

There is but little to interest the traveller 
in the capital of Ladak; from a distance, the 
city has an imposing appearance, which it owes 
entirely to the palace, which, built on a slight 
eminence, possesses a front of two hundred and 
fifty feet, and is seven stories in height. It 
towers "like a tall bully" over the cluster of 
squalid houses and dirty lanes at its foot, an 
apt symbol of the Dogra rule ; its white walls, 
too, have a slight slant inwards from base to 
summit, as if they shrank back with aristo- 
cratic disdain from contact with the plebeian huts 

Proud though it be, it however submits to 
the supremacy of the church ; for high above it, 
on the summit of a rocky mountain, is a monas- 
tery, or lamasery, as Hue more correctly terms 
them, with its painted battlements and flags. 
In the centre of the city is a large open market- 
place : this on the arrival of a khafila, i.e., 
caravan from Yarkund and Persia, must be a 

200 Travels in Ladak^ 

busy scene. One of tliese was daily expected 
while we were there, but on the third morning 
of our stay it was still some marches off, and 
we could not afford time to linger there longer. 


1 can therefore only speak of Lo as it appeared 
in an interval of stagnation, and there certainly 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 201 

was about as great a dearth of all stir or move- 
ment in its streets as in a city of the dead ; 
no need here of Policeman X, such a functionary 
would soon pine away for want of employment, 
and even the words " Muv on/' that shibboleth 
of his class, would from constant disuse, slip 
from his memory. 

The absence of the Governor, too, no doubt 
added greatly to the deserted appearance of the 
place, for even the palace was empty. 

The city is situate in a plain of small extent 
which slopes down in a gradual fall to the banks 
of Sinh-kha-bab. Eocky hills about two thousand 
feet above the level of the city itself, surround 
it on all sides except the south-west, where there 
is a good deal of cultivation on either bank of 
the little Le rivulet, which falls into the Indus 
about three or four miles from the city. On this 
rivulet is a small fort, built by the Dogra in- 
vaders, and garrisoned with three hundred men ; 
it commands the approach to the city from 
Kashmir, and its situation on the bank of the 
rivulet ensures a supply of water. 

The walls, from the bottom of the ditch, which 

202 Travels in Ladak, 

is scarped and about fifteen feet in breadth as 
well as in depth, are about thirty feet in height, 
built of large sun-dried bricks. The barracks 
for the garrison are inside the fort, and the 
roof of these buildings forms the terre-plein of 
these ramparts. Its armament consists of four 
guns of small calibre, and appeared to be in 
good order. 

The city of Le itself is enclosed by a low wall, 
with square towers at intervals, which stretches 
up the slope of the hills ; this appears in Moor- 
croft's time to have been in good order, but it is 
now in many places demolished and ruinous, 
and houses have been built outside it. 

Plantations of poplar surround the city on all 
sides ; outside these again are tchoktens and manis 
without number, extending far up the rocky 
rises of the encircling hills. 

The streets and lanes open out from either 
side of the market-place, and are narrow and 
tortuous, forming a most intricate labyrinth. 
The houses are built generally of bricks burnt 
in the sun, and are sometimes three stories in 
height; the roofs are fiat, formed of poles of 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 203 

poplar laid across, resting on tlie outer wall; 
above these, a sort of hurdle of osiers gives sup- 
port to a layer of straw and earth, a species of 
covering but badly calculated to keep out rain. 

The houses are whitewashed on the outside, 
but the original colour of the material is not inter- 
fered with within doors, where a good dirt colour 
is no doubt the most appropriate tint. Moor- 
croft spent a winter here, and informs us, that 
" the floor serves for chair, table, and bed, and is 
not unfrequently shared with sheep and goats, 
and swarms with more objectionable tenants." 

A rude sort of shutter does duty both as door 
and window, and chimneys are unknown. The 
interior economy of the palace itself was in no 
way superior to that of its humbler neighbours ; 
it is a " wliited sepulchre," a mighty sham. 

The dress of the people, i.e., Ladakhis pur 
sang, differed in nothing from that of those of 
Lahoul save in the costliness of the material, 
but of these noble Thibetans we saw but few. 
Kashmiris, on the contrary, were there in 
plenty, clad in the long drab wrapper and 
skull-cap with turban, or skull-cap without tur- 

204 Travels in Ladak^ 

ban, accordingly as the wearer was ricli or 
poor, smart or slovenly. Between tliem and tlie 
Ladakhi ladies a mixed race lias sprung up called 
Argands or Argons, who have the white parch- 
menty complexion of the sires, but are a degene- 
rate race in all points save rascality and ugliness ; 
in these qualities they surpass even the parent 


We observed many of the women with their 
faces smeared with a preparation that left dark 
stains on the skin, and gave it the appearance 
of having been varnished ; this preparation would 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 205 

seem to be the pulp of some frait, for a number 
of small seeds remain glued to the cheek after the 

Moorcroffc mentions this custom, and gives as 
a reason for its use, that it is thought to improve 
the beauty of the female countenance. But it 
answers so nearly to the description given by the 
Eeverend Messrs. Hue and Grabet of a portion 
of the toilet of the ladies of Lhassa, not willingly 
adopted by them as an enhancer of their charms, 
but enforced by a stern moralist for a very diffe- 
rent reason, that I am .inclined to think Moor- 
croft mistaken in his conclusion. 

It appears from the account of those two 
enterprising Frenchmen, that once upon a time, 
some two hundred years ago, the ladies of 
Lhassa were so charming and irresistible, that 
the men of that age were unable to keep them 
in obedience under them. Petticoat influence 
spread more and more, till even the holy lamahs 
were affected by it; in a word, the cJironique 
scandaleuse of that period was a very voluminous 
one. With a view to check this increasing 
disregard for les convenances, the then ruler, a 

206 Travels in Ladak^ 

rigid and austere man, decreed that for the 
future no woman should appear in public with- 
out first smearing her face " with a sort of black 
glutinous varnish, not unlike currant jelly;" 
that the fair sex should take as much pains 
to make their faces repulsive, as they had before 
taken to adorn them. 

Strange to say, this edict, so galling to female 
ideas, was carried out in its integrity, and its 
observance is to this day strictly attended to in 
the streets of Lhassa by all ladies with any re- 
gard for their reputation. 

The Thibetans say that this inhuman order on 
the part of the King had the desired effect. 
Features the most winning, when seen through a 
smudge of currant jelly, failed to seduce; 
" sweets to the sweet superfluous," and the 
superfluity palled; the tempter ceased to be 
tempting, and by this unworthy artifice the 
" lords of creation " regained their supremacy 
over its ladies. But Messrs. Hue and Gabet, 
though not in a position to affirm the contrary 
with decision, give us to understand that if the 
morals of the good people of Lhassa were more 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 207 

lax in former days than they are now, they must 
have been ver^ bad indeed. 

It was at that we first heard the good 
news of the existence of a missing note-book of 
the adventurous Adolphe Schlagentweit. An 
account of the steps taken to secure it and their 
result will be found in the Appendix. 

I will here quote only one paragraph, which 
appears to me deserving of attention : — " Dr. 
Hurkishen states that he received a letter from 
Mr. A. Schlagentweit, dated the 14th June, 
1857, in which he mentions having sent two dak 
parcels for transmission to Kangra (see printed 
circular). The parcels never came to hand ; nor 
does any inquiry appear to have been made re- 
specting their fate. This is unfortunate ; even 
now it is not too late. — (Signed) W. Hay." 

Now the book recovered by us is Schlagent- 
weit's journal from the 14th June, 1857, con- 
taining his notes and observations from the date 
on which he despatched these two parcels (full of 
precious matter, which, poor fellow, he had 
doubtless every reason to believe would reach its 
destination in safety) up to the day of his death. 

208 Travels in Ladak^ 

But they "never came to hand, nor does any 
inquiry appear to have been made respecting 
their fate/' 

This plain statement of facts needs no com- 
ment ; let us hope that " even now it is not too 
late," as Lord W. Hay observes. 

The recovery of the volume which has been 
secured seemed improbable, if not impossible. 
Adolphe's brothers even seem to have despaired 
of ever seeing it ; yet it has " turned up " by a 
strange chance — rescued from the snuffy fingers 
of a Kashgar tobacconist by a man who had but 
a vague notion of its value : it belonged to a 
murdered sahib — that was all he knew. And I 
feel sure that an authoritative search through the 
villages along the route which the two missing 
parcels should have taken, would result success- 
fully. Has the Dead-Parcel Office at Kangra 
been rummaged? 

I am happy to be able to add that a letter 
from the two surviving brothers, acknowledging 
with joyful thanks the receipt of Adolphe 
Schlagentweit's last note-book has reached Simla. 

Mirza Abdul Wudud, who has rendered un- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 20!) 

knowingly so great a service to the world of 
science, was a man whose appearance would have 
secured him honourable notice in any country, 
amongst any people. His turban was a miracle 
of art, and when (as often occurred when the 
march was long and the sun oppressive) he used 
to doff its graceful folds, and seem to court 


sudden death " by exposing his shaven head, 
covered merely with a thin skull-cap, to its rays, 
it was observable that to wear a turban properly 
you must be, as it were, " to the manner born 
you must possess a cranium lofty, and tapering 
almost to a point, a cone-shaped skull, round 
which to wreathe its intricate drapery. 


210 Travels in Ladah^ 

The grave, pliilosophical calm of his features, 
the long sleepy ej^e, the slow dignity of his gait 
(about one mile and a half an hour, — he never 
moved faster), his tall, portly figure and com- 
manding presence, his comparatively fair com- 
plexion — for I have seen many a British soldier 
with, thanks to an Indian sun, a darker cheek 
than his — his self-possessed demeanour, never 
flurried, never insolent, never obsequious, his 
language — for he only spoke Persian — dis- 
tinguished him most markedly from amongst the 
other followers of our camp. He marched with us 
as far as Simla, and after receiving the reward 
granted him by Government, he bade us a cour- 
teous farewell, and started " to see India," so he 

He did not smoke, but was the most inveterate 
snuff-taker I ever met ; and to this habit he un- 
doubtedly owes his rupees five hundred. And to 
it is the world of letters indebted for the recovery 
of Adolphe Sclilagentweit's last journal — leading 
him, as it did, straight to the shop of the dealer 
in snuff, who was unwittingly the possessor of 
such a treasure. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 2 1 1 

When questioned as to the disguise he had 
adopted in the wild countries of Central Asia — 
that of a hakeem or physician — he, without 
changing a muscle of his face, told us that he 
was guiltless of all medicinal or surgical know- 
ledge, but that his practice had been an extended 
one, even lucrative, amongst those barbarous and 
ignorant races ; but as he came further south, he 
found his practice decline, his patients grow 
suspicious, his gains apocryphal. Hence his 
destitute state when he accosted the " official 
friend " at Le with the air of a deposed monarch 
rather than that of a wandering mendicant. 

It was from him that we first learnt of the 
newly established Russian settlement and manu- 
factory at Kashgar. 

The skull which accompanied the note-book 
has been proved by unmistakeable marks not to 
be that of a European. 

It is strange that the two most comprehensive 
scientific works on India and the neighbouring 
countries should be the result of the labours and 
researches of foreigners — I allude to Jacquemont 
and the Schlagentweits. And still stranger is it 

p 2 

212 Travels in LadaJc^ 

that the collections, mineral and vegetable, made 
by the talented trio of Germans should be at this 
moment in the Museum of Berlin, and not in 
that of the East India House, although the ex- 
pense incurred by the Indian Government in be- 
half of these German savants has been computed 
at near 30,000/., and that incurred by Prussia nil. 

This, let me add, is no fault of the Messrs. 
Schlagentweit ; they appear to have performed 
their task ably and zealously, leaving the bones 
of one of their number in India, a victim to his 
sense of duty and spirit of adventure. The 
fault lies entirely at the door of those who 
organized the expedition ; and it is a fault the 
more to be regretted, seeing that on more than 
one occasion has this lavish expenditure been 
quoted by the India House as an excuse for not 
aiding by pecuniary advances the scientific 
labours of others, our own countrymen. 

It seems, too, matter of regret that foreigners, 
however able, should have been selected for a 
task for which the ranks of the then Company's 
army contained so many admirably suited men, 
officers in the scientific branches of the service, 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 213 

learned and adventurous, whose habits of life, 
knowledge of native character, and tried ability 
were sufficient fully to outweigh the pretensions 
even of proteges of the great Humboldt himself. 

At Le we were joined by a sleek, well-dressed 
native, who brought to the " official friend " a 
letter of greeting from Eumbeer Singh, the 
Maharajah of Jumnoo, in whose territories we 
now were, and informing him that the sleek, 
well- whiskered moonshee, the bearer of the 
flowery epistle, written on vellum, stamped with 
sprigs of gold, and encased in a kincob cover, 
would attend him throughout his journeyings, 
and that a small guard of soldiers would also 
accompany us. 

While the invalids were slowly gaining 
strength, and the photographer was busily taking 
views, the Major and myself were — to speak vera- 
ciously — bored to death. We inspected the stores 
of some Punjab merchants who were awaiting 
the arrival of the Khafila, but there was but little 
to tempt us to open our purse-strings. We 
hunted everywhere for turquoises, but could 
find none except the large, rough, green -hued. 

2 1 4 Travels in Ladak^ 

deeply flawed stones worn on the women's lap- 
pets ; of these we bought a few at a rupee a- 
piece. We rummaged all the shops, saw every- 
thing, w^hether it was worth seeing or not ; and 
as a last resource, on the evening of the second 
day, caused it to be announced that the sahibs 
were anxious to buy ponies. 

Next morning we were beset by horsedealers. 
The Yarkand ponies are fine powerful animals ; 
they usually arrive at Le sadly out of condition, 
footsore skeletons with sore backs, for they are 
generally overladen, and the route from Yarkand 
is a trying one, passing as it does over the Kara- 
korem range. 

The Yarkand merchants never take them back, 
but sell them for what they will fetch ; the large 
profits on their merchandize fully compensating 
for any loss they may sustain in horseflesh. 

The third day of our stay at Le was devoted 
to selecting montures from the numerous animals 
brought for sale, and, as it turned out, w^e had 
every reason to be satisfied with our purchases. 

The Le horsedealers are no unworthy mem- 
bers of that knowing fraternity. They invariably 

Tartary^ and Kasliriiir. 215 

asked three times the price they were prepared to 
take, and probably six times the actual value of 
the beast; and after you had concluded what 
you in your innocence thought a capital bargain, 
and paid your money, the rascals would say with 
a roguish leer, " Lor' bless ye, sir ; why I'd a 
taken 'arf that sum for the 'oss or words to 
that effect. 

Next day we left the capital of Ladak with- 
out a regret. 

"Hey ! for Kashmir !" Our journey thither 
shall be told in the next chapter. 



Travels in Ladak^ 


left Lh on the 
morning of August 
21st, starting the invalids 
off early, so that they might 
reach the end of the march 
ere the sun was high 
in the heavens ; the 
sound men of the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 217 

party dallied with sleep a little longer, postponing 
their departure to a more fitting and gentleman- 
like hour, when they leisurely followed. 

Our road led us along the little Le rivulet, 
past the fort, down to the Indus, and for some 
little distance followed the windings of its right 
bank; then climbing a sandy hill up to the 
right, it traversed a weary plain of rock and 
sand for a few miles, when bethinking it of the 
green margin of the river it had so foolishly 
deserted, it turned suddenly to the left, down a 
steep ravine, which, after turnings and twistings 
without number, each of which it led us to be- 
lieve was the last, finally debouched on a narrow 
plain skirting the river bank. A little further 
on, a small plantation of poplars tempted us from 
the path by promises of shade, and here we 
found our avant garde stretched on the ground, 
each with a little mountain of apricots and 
apples near him, rapidly disappearing before the 
vigorous attacks of a convalescent's appetite. A 
mighty jar of fresh milk, no longer full, was 
being passed round with a pertinacity that 
threatened soon to empty it ; and, as we ap- 

218 Travels in Ladak^ 

proached, they announced, with their mouths 
full, their firm determination not to stir one inch 
further that day. 

AVe were without difiiculty persuaded to con- 
cur in this resolve, so a halt was ordered. 

From our pleasant poplar grove we marched 
next day to Nikra, about twelve miles, along a 
tolerably level road, passing several villages, 
cultivated fields, and orchards of apricot and 
apple-trees. Of the villages, Bazgo is the only 
one worth mentioning ; it must at one time 
have been a place of some note. The old town 
was built on the crest of a clifi* of red sandstone, 
but was now quite deserted and rapidly falhng 
into ruin. A modern Bazgo had sprung up at 
its foot. 

I was more than once vividly reminded of the 
scenery of the south of the Crimea as we marched 
through the Indus valley. There was the same 
abrupt contrast between luxuriant vegetation 
and bare rock constantly recurring. The villages 
were similarly situated, and even the inhabitants 
resembled greatly in dress and appearance their 
Crim Tartar brethren. 

Tariary^ and Kashmir. 2 1 9 

At Nikra we encamped under a clump of 
pollard willow-trees, which formed a little oasis 
on the bare brow of a hill overlooking the river. 
Here our friend the Kahlone of Le reappeared. 
He had just been apprised of the approach from 
Kashmir of the newly-appointed Governor of 
Ladak, and had ridden out with a small escort 
to meet His Excellency and conduct him with all 
due honours to his capital. 

From Nikra to Hemis was a short march of 
about ten miles, during which we wandered away 
from the Indus over a succession of low hills, 
divided by small glens and valleys, each of which 
was watered by a little rivulet which ran swiftly 
down its centre, eager to cast its mite into the 
all-absorbing " Sinh-ka-bab." We finally pitched 
our tents about three miles from the great river, 
under a grove of the sacred " Shukpa," or pencil 

We were stretched on the grass beneath the 
shade of these venerable trees, listlessly dreaming 
away the hours, when a sudden commotion in 
camp roused us from our reverie. 

The Kahlone called for his pony, clambered up 

220 Travels in Ladak^ 

into the high-peaked saddle, and rode off at speed. 
Soon the tramp of advancing cavalry fell on our 
ears, and, winding down the steep defile in front 
of us, a brilliant cavalcade of about a hundred 
horsemen, armed with sword and spear, wretch- 
edly mounted, but most gaily caparisoned, ap- 
peared in sight. In the midst of the troop, 
attended by a select staff of Sikh officers, rode 
the new governor. He was a nephew of that 
Easti Eam of whom I have before made honour- 
able mention. 

The processioD passed our little encampment 
without halting, and went on to a village at 
some little distance near the river-bank, where 
accommodation had been prepared for the repre- 
sentative of the Kashmir Grovernment. 

An hour or two afterwards two coolies, the 
one bearing the bedding, the other the wardrobe 
of the governor, shuffled past. This was all his 

In the afternoon the official friend was 
informed that His Excellency of Lc was anxious 
to pay his respects, and four o'clock was fixed on 
as the liour of interview. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 221 

I cannot say that any very great preparations 
were made on our part for the great man's 
reception. A rude charpay, or native bedstead, 
was the official friend's throne of state; the 
cedar-grove his haU of audience ; a faded dressing- 
gown, thrown over a flannel shirt of dubious hue, 
his robe of ceremony ; his crown, the grey forage- 
cap of the Simla Volunteers ; and his courtiers 
some three or four sunburnt Englishmen in 
their shirt sleeves, with beards of a month's 
growth, and the appearance generally of Cali- 
fornian gold-diggers, while all were remarkable 
for that winning and conciliating demeanour 
towards foreigners that the Briton is so famous 
for, especially when those foreigners are, as we 
courteously term them — niggers ! 

But the Sikh swell was wonderfully " got up." 
A small but beautifully folded turban, of a 
delicate pink, framed his frank, animated, intel- 
ligent countenance. The rest of his dress was 
of a snowy white, save a handsome " cummer- 
band" or girdle, of Kashmir fabric. A jewelled 
baldric passing over his right shoulder, supported 
his sword ; and his moustache and beard were 

222 Travels in Ladak^ 

short and trim, though the former was curled 
upwards, giving that air troiqner to the face 
which the Sikhs so much affect. 

He sat down on a railway-rug at the " ofiGicial 
friend's" feet, and then motioned to his followers 
to set down the "nuzzer," or gift of ceremony, 
which consisted of sweetmeats, baskets of apricots 
and apples, of sugar-candy, of sheep, of a brick 
of tea, and lastly, of a timid little antelope, all 
which he prayed the " official friend" to accept. 

The interview was not a long one ; and, after 
our illustrious visitor's departure, we delighted 
our coolies and disgusted our servants — who 
looked on them as their peculiar perquisites — 
by instituting a grand scramble among the 
former for the sweetmeats, the apples, and the 

And a glorious scramble it was — young and 
old, men and women, joined in it — pell mell ! 
topsy turvey on tlie grass ! 

The ladies had by far the best of it. Whether 
it was that they were fonder of sweets, and 
therefore more eager to get them, or that their 
garments afforded greater facilities for pocketing, 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 223 

or that the men were chivalrous enough to let 
them snatch more than their fair share, I know 
not, hut when the shower of fruit had ceased, 
and all squatted down to feast on the spoils, 
those of the women seemed inexhaustible. In 
the midst of them — the life and soul of the 
merry party — sat a lady in a yellow hood, and 
clad in a ragged robe of the same colour ; she 
was a nun, and strange to say, the only one we 
saw while in Ladak, though these Lamahs of the 
feminine gender are said to be nearly as numerous 
as their monastic brethren. 

She had been the leader of the Amazons 
throughout the fight ; ever in the thick of the 
7n^lee, where the rain of fruit fell fastest, there 
her yellow garments were conspicuous amid 
the moving mass of drab jackets, of turquoise- 
studded lappets, and striped petticoats. And 
now, when the feasting was nearly over, and her 
companions were trying to adjust their somewhat 
tousled attire, ever and anon would she dive into 
some unexplored corner of the yellow robe, and 
produce therefrom more, and yet more apricots, 
not tempting to the eye indeed, for they were 

224 Travels in Ladak^ 

bruised, and broken, and mashed into pulp ; but 
to judge from tbe gusto with which they were 
devoured, very pleasant to the taste. 

These nuns are a calumniated race. More 
than one writer has poked indifferent fun at 
them — attempted mild facetiousness at tlieh ex- 
pense. To judge from the personal appearance 
of these ladies, it was clear that they had all 
taken the veil for the simple reason that they 
w^ere tired of singing — 

" Nobody coming to marry me, 
Nobody coming to woo ;" 

being so hopelessly plain that even in that 
country of coarse visages, suitors held aloof! 
&c. Now, I beg leave most emphatically to pro- 
test against such a conclusion. This was the 
only nun we saw, and she, though not exactly a 
Venus, was undoubtedly the best-looking woman 
we saw in Ladak, always excepting the little 
grass-shoemaker who sat by the wayside weav- 
ing sandals at Kyelang. Here is her profile; 
judge for yourselves. 

She was a most jovial reU(jieitse ; but I wonder 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 225 

what my Lady Abbess would have said, could she 
have seen the holy maid's frolics — " her nods, and 
becks, and wreathed smiles." 


We left our grove of cedars early next morn- 
ing, and marched for about eight or nine miles, 
to a large village on the right bank of the Indus, 
called Nurla. The road wound round the steep 
and crumbling sides of a series of ravines, and 
was very narrow in some places, hardly affording 
a safe footing. The abode of a hermit was 
pointed out to us, perched like an eagle's nest on 
a rock many hundred feet above us. This saintly 
personage had been there many years, and spent 
his whole time in mental abstraction, prayer. 

226 Travels in Ladah^ 

and contemjDlation of " the ten thousand virtues 
of Boodha." He hoped by a perseverance in this 
course of training to arrive at last at perfection ; 
meanwhile, the devout in the neighbourhood re- 
gularly supplied him with food. 

Nurla is one of the largest, most populous, 
and thriving villages that we saw; it is lower 
and warmer than the country we had passed 
through as yet, and the fruit-trees and planta- 
tions of willow and poplar grew very abundantly. 
Here we breakfasted and changed coolies. From 
Nurla to Khallach the road followed the course 
of the Indus, which is here shut in on either 
side by lofty cliffs of red clay ; every now and 
then these recede from the river's bank, leaving 
a slip of land, generally under cultivation. 
Shortly before reaching Khallach the road crosses 
a deep watercourse, and then ascends a steep 
pitch, on the top of which is a large clear tank, 
fed by a little aqueduct from the hill above it, 
whose waters find an exit on its south side, and 
help to make green the fields of the Khallach 
villages ; its cool depths promised joys unspeak- 
able to dusty wayfarers ; and without more ado, 

Tcu'tary^ and Kashmir. 227 

regardless of publicity, of the fact that they 
stood on the king's highway, three shameless 
pale-faces stripped, and plunged them in the 

Our camp was pitched about a quarter of a mile 
on, just below the village, which is considerably 
above the level of the river. 

A swim in the tank, before starting, braced 
our limbs for the toils of the day. Shortly after 
leaving Khallach we crossed the Indus by a good 
wooden bridge, which the Sikhs have fortified on 
the Le side of the stream. One or two fierce- 
looking warriors of that nation were lounging 
about, whose duty it was to collect the bridge- 
toll from all passers. After this we left the 
Indus vaUey, and turned up to the left, entering 
a narrow gorge, along which the path wound for 
some miles, continually crossing and recrossing 
the stream which flowed through it towards the 
Indus. A sudden and steep ascent up the clifi* 
on the right, for about one thousand feet, brought 
us on to a large bed of yellow clay ; after cross- 
ing which, the picturesque village and monastery 
of Lama Yurru came in sight. 

Q 2 

228 Travels in Ladah^. 

The Lamahs account for this strange deposit 
of clay by the fact that it once upon a time 
formed the basin of a large lake. Their tradi- 
tions say that the founder of the Lama Yurru 
monastery, a Lhassan priest, named Narossa, 
cut through the rock a channel for the waters 
of the lake, which falling into the ravine up 
which we had marched, soon left bare the 
clayey bed on which the sheet of water once 
had lain. 

We camped below the village, which was built 
at a great height above us, and was itself over- 
topped by the towers and flags of the monas- 

Next day we crossed the Photo La Pass (thir- 
teen thousand feet), after an easy and gradual 
ascent of about three miles, and shortly after 
halted for breakfast, on the banks of a little 
stream, which came rushing out of a narrow 
defile across our path ; a frowning precipice rose 
on each side the rivulet, and on the summit of 
the right hand one was the village of Henasko. 

We pitched our camp a few miles further on, 
near the dilapidated village of Kerboo. The 

Tartar and Kashmir. 229 

river here widened out into a broad but shallow 
stream ; the meadows along its bank were 
marshy, and abounded in wild fowl, principally 
teal, which afforded us a good afternoon's sport. 
Next day we crossed the Pass of Namikar, and 
halted at a place called Turgot, situate in a green 
valley, shut in by lofty and barren mountains. 
Shortly before camping we had passed an enor- 
mous figure, sculptured in rude alto relievo on 
the face of an isolated rock that towered high 

above the pathway ; the 
figure was that of 
Chamba, a Thibetan di- 
vinity, and its propor- 
tions were colossal; it 
seemed to mark the 
limit of the realms of 
Boodha — to say to Ma- 
hommedanism, " Thus 


230 Travels in Ladah^ 

far, and no fartlier and will, doubtless, stand 
sentry here long after the fierce tide of the re- 
ligion of Islam has swept past it. 

After this we saw no Lamaseries, Tchoktens, 
or Manis; reached villages where, in defiance 
of the laws of Boodha, poultry were reared, 
and killed, and eaten ; and now, much to the 
satisfaction of Ali Bux and the delight of the 
travellers, eggs, plain boiled, or poached, or 
beaten up into savoury omelets, again smoked 
upon the board. 

There is no doubt but that Mahommedanism 
is spreading rapidly in those districts of Ladak 
and Balti which border on Kashmir, and is 
changing the habits and character of the in- 
habitants ; doing good, inasmuch as it prohibits 
" chang and checks intoxication ; doing harm, 
inasmuch as it brings with it Kashmirian 
dissoluteness, mendacity, and fraud. Whether 
its effects are beneficial or otherwise is, therefore, 
a question which I must decline answering; 
for, inlluenced as I am by reminiscences of the 
fat capons and savoury omelets of Mahommed, 
I am not prepared to judge impartially between 

Tai'tary^ and Kashmir, 231 

him and Boodha, especially when I bethink me 
what atrocious beer the latter brews. 

A march of about eleven miles through a long 
narrow valley brought us to Paskyun, which is a 
large but ill-built, and widely scattered hamlet, 
and its inhabitants are all Mahommedans. We 
remarked that Ali Bux here adopted a voluminous 
green turban, which he wore throughout the rest 
of the trip; and now that he had readied a 
country of true believers, of brother-followers of 
the Prophet, comported himself generally with a 
dignity and lofty arrogance of demeanour quite 
edifying to behold. 

After breakfast we left the valley of Paskyun, 
and ascended the heights to the left. The sum- 
mit reached, we found ourselves on a broad pla- 
teau, on whose stony surface not a blade of grass 
was visible ; it sloped down gradually in front 
of us, narrowing as the slope became steeper, and 
finally came to an end where the waters of the 
Turu river, coming from the south-west, meet 
with those of the stream, the Wakachu, we had 
followed as far as Paskyun. 

The view from the crest of this plateau, look- 

232 Travels in Ladak^ 

ing to the left up the course of the Turn river, 
was one of the most striking I ever saw. 1 at- 
tempted to sketch it, but my brush has failed to 
give any idea of its grandeur. The Turu river, 
which at its confluence with the "Wakachu 
spreads out to a great breadth, is crossed by a 
series of small wooden bridges and causeways, 
and on the tongue of land between the two 
rivers is a Sikh fort, built on the same prin- 
ciple as that of Le. After crossing the river, 
we encamped on its left bank opposite to the 

We followed the left bank of the Turu next 
day till it was joined by the Dras river, a moun- 
tain stream of considerable size, up the left bank 
of which our path led us for many a weary mile 
of up and down hill. Towards evening we 
reached a substantial wooden bridge, and soon 
after we encamped at Thusgam, on the right 
bank of the river. 

This was a long and trying march, especially 
for four-footed beasts and their riders ; the path 
was in many places so narrow that ponies could 

Tartar and Kashmir, 233 

with difficulty find a footing, and the white 
bones of many an ill-fated animal that had 
slipped and fallen over caught the eye as it 
glanced below — a sight unpleasantly suggestive 
of what your own fate would be were your steed 
to make a false step : the pedestrians of the party 
had much the best of it. 

Our poor little antelope, the gift of the 
Governor of Lfe, died to-day of fatigue, Noura 
said, to whose charge it had been confided; but 
over-eating was probably the real cause ; we had 
killed it with kindness. Misfortunes never come 
singly ; one of my milch goats, too, departed this 
life during the day's march, and with her, alas ! 
her infant son, who had seen the light of day 
only a few hours. 

The poor foolish little lady had shown no signs 
of an intention to increase and multiply before 
leaving Simla; but ere we reached Le her in- 
teresting but most inconvenient condition had 
attracted my notice, and I strongly recommended 
the goatherd to leave her behind at the capital 
of Ladak. But, no ! Meliboeus was obstinate ; 

23.4 Travels in Ladak^ 

lie felt convinced that the happy event would not 
take place before we reached Kashmir, where, 
urged he, the mother would be sure to obtain the 
best medical advice, and our halt would be long 
enough to enable the offspring to gather sufiB.- 
cient strength to bear the fatigue of our onward 

His arguments were so plausible that I per- 
mitted myself to be overruled, and madame 
marched out of Le so cheerily and with so light 
a step, considering the weight she carried, that all 
my apprehensions of a premature accouchement 


"mutabile semper 


Ladies never know their own minds, even in cases 
such as this, when we naturally feel inclined to 
place some little reliance on their powers of cal- 
culation. Poor Meliboeus ! 

" En, ipse capellas 
Protenus seger ago ; hanc etiam vix, Tityre duco." 

Such his plight some days after. The catas- 
trophe had, however, not yet taken place ; she 

T aviary^ and Kashmir, 235 

had the sense to wait till the end of the march, 
and at Kurgyl, at 6.30, p.m., exactly, a fine kid 
came into the world. At 6, a.m., the next 
morning, mother and child were doing well. 
Mamma had nibbled a mouthful or two 
of fresh grass, and was as well as could 
be expected ; and baby, bless its little 
heart ! had already exhibited no contemptible 
powers of suction ! " Pack 'em in a kliilta, 
sahib, and order a coolie to carry 'em," suggested 
Meliboeus. No sooner said than done ; wrapped 
in a warm blanket and pillowed on soft hay, they 
were made as comfortable as circumstances would 
admit of ; but the Jchilta proved their last resting- 
place — it was a dead weight that the coolie bore 
when he marched into camp. 

A shower of rain fell that night, and in the 
morning the mountains around us were white 
with fresh fallen snow ; but the valley was green 
and clothed with luxuriant vegetation. As we 
advanced and came in sight of the hamlet of 
Dras, the valley opened out into a little plain, 
which now widening, now narrowing, stretched 

236 Travels in Ladaky 

for miles before us. We halted at Dras, and 
pushed on next day eagerly, for in front of us, 
behind the blue lines of mountains topped by 
snowy peaks, lay our Promised Land — the 
" terrestrial paradise," Kashmir. Our road led us 
along a succession of green valleys opening into 
each other by narrow defiles; there were no 
trees as yet, but the ground was covered with a 
thick carpet of long grass, shrubs, and flowers. 
We camped that night close to a glacier which 
filled up a deep ravine in the mountain-side to 
our left. This monstrous icicle, seen in the glare 
of day with its thousand streamlets trickling out 
from under the cool shadow of the opaque mass, 
was a pleasant neighbour enough; but when 
evening came on, and the grateful plash and 
murmur of each tiny rivulet ceased one by one 
as the frost shut them up for the night with his 
icy chain, and all around was dark, and motion- 
less, and cold, we wished him farther ; and with 
the first streak of dawn were up and away far 
from his frigid vicinity. 

After a walk of a few miles, the valley sud- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 237 

denly ceased, and our path dived headlong into a 
deep chasm, o'er which 

" The crags closed round with black and jagged arms 

the descent was almost precipitous, but happily 
not a long one ; at the bottom was a mass of ice 
and hardened snow, in which were embedded 
rocks, stones, and gravel \ through this a small 
stream with difficulty worked its way, and a few 
yards further on leaped into the black void of an 
abyss beyond. We could not see where it 
lighted after its spring ; but the sound of a con- 
tinuous splash rose up from the depths below. 
A difficult zigzag cut in the face of the rock led 
us up the opposite side of the chasm. A forest 
of stunted birch-trees clothed its summit, 
through which the path wound on, gradually 
ascending to where, about half a mile ahead, 
was the ridge of the pass. This ridge reached, 
Kashmir was before us ! ! 

It is a thing not easily to be forgotten, that 
first glimpse of Kashmir. The softer beauties 
of the vale proper, indeed, are hid from you. It 

238 Travels in Ladah^ 

is one of the many valleys whose sides, stretching 
from the snows of the Himalaya to the warmth 
and fertility at their base, seem to bind together 
summer and winter with one mighty wreath of 
green forest, that lies before you ; and it is in 
these valleys, which form as it were the " woods 
and forests" of the immense domain of which 
the vale^ par excellence^ is the flower-garden — that, 
to my mind, Kashmir's richest and rarest gems, 
as far as inanimate beauty goes, are to be 

The descent of the pass into the valley was 
very steep and rugged ; thick forest began as 
soon as the ridge was passed, and our path led 
through — 

" One vast mass 
Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence 
A narrow vale embosoms." 

The name of this valley is Sindh, so called 
from the river which flows down it, and the pass 
w^e had just crossed was the Seogi-La, a con- 
tinuation of the same range which we had before 
scaled by the Bara Lachi Pass. This chain of 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 239 

hills forms a natural boundary between India 
and Thibet * 

We halted for breakfast at the foot of the 
pass, and tempted by the unaccustomed beau- 
ties which surrounded us, lingered so long, that at 
last we decided on camping there for the night. 

In the afternoon the Major and I, hearing 
that unmistakeable marks of bears had been seen 
in the vicinity, plunged into the jungle in 
different directions. Our expedition resulted in 
our stalking each other with great skill. After 
walking for about two hours, I distinctly heard 
in the jungle on my right the crashing and 
snapping of dried sticks and small twigs, and 
the rustling of the larger boughs that bent before 
the weight of some large animal. He was 
coming straight towards me ; and crouching 
down in the dense underwood, with finger on 
trigger, I anxiously waited for the appearance 
of the mass of black fur I felt so sure of. 
But the sounds suddenly ceased. I crept cau- 

* Vide Cuimiugliam's Ladak, 

240 Travels in Ladak^ 

tiously towards the spot whence they had seemed 
to come; I stopped and listened; the rustling 
had again commenced ; he was quite close now ; 
I was safe to get him ; and in another moment 
I saw! — the ruddy face of the gallant Major 
peering at me out of the thick cover, with an 
odd expression of blank wonder, of disappoint- 
ment not unmingled with disgust; though the 
mouth smiled a smile w^hich tried to be jolly, 
and the voice in a tone which tried to be hearty, 
said — " By Jove ! I thought you were a bear !" 

We pushed on for the next two days at 
the rate of twenty miles a day, following the 
course of the Sindh river through a lovely 
country ; it was one continued descent, but so 
slight as to be hardly perceptible, save here 
and there, where the glen narrowed so much 
as scarce to give the stream a wide enough 
channel, and it and our road jostled each other 
for right of way. I cannot compliment the 
Maharajah on his highways. 

We met a number of soldiers en route^ bound 
for Le, the garrison of which they were to 
relieve; they straggled for miles along the road 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 241 

without an attempt at formation, and each indi- 
vidual warrior appeared to have laid down sepa- 
rate " Dress Regulations," to suit his own parti- 
* cular fancy. 

Our moonshee was a different man now that 
he had reached the happy valley, his whiskers 
resumed their sleek appearance and curled 
proudly upwards ; he discarded the unsightly 
wraps that had disguised his figure during the 
march ; a tight pair of cherry-coloured over-alls 
encased his slender limbs, and he rode at our 
head with a jaunty swagger, "witching the 
world with noble horsemanship ! " We chris- 
tened him C n on the spot ! 

Throughout the second day's march, our path 
led through a continuous orchard of walnut, 
apple, and pear trees growing wild, mingled 
Avith sycamore, horse-chestnut, and ash ; after 
awhile, houses built of logs appeared, and here 
and there land had been reclaimed from the 
forest and put under cultivation; towards the 
close of day we crossed the Sindh river by a 
good wooden bridge, and ascending the left 
bank, which rose to a considerable height above 


242 Travels in Ladak^ 

the river, came in sight of the famous Vale of 
Kashmir, bathed in the warm rays of the setting 
sun ; in the far distance rose the snowy peaks 
of the Pir Punjal, tinted with the rosy light of 
eve, and between stretched a vast expanse of 
undulating plain, which bore on its broad 
bosom cities, lakes, and gardens ; but even as 
we looked the sun sank behind the western 
range of hills ; and though the snow-crowned 
brows of the distant hills still sparkled in the 
gleam of his parting ray, over the valley shadows 
gathered fast, and veiled it from our sight. 

It was dark ere our tents were pitched, and 
the night was far spent ere all our coolies 
arrived; but the trusty Ali Bux was no such 
laggard, and our dinner was ready ere the 
" official friend " had made his appearance. On 
his arrival a bevy of civil and military autho- 
rities came to greet him with offerings of fruit 
and sweetmeats; we forgave them their un- 
seasonable intrusion for the sake of the dessert 
it afforded us — peaches, grapes, plums, pears, and 
apples ! And so to bed, haunted by a vague 
suspicion that the natives, liars though they be 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 243 

generally, were pretty near the truth when they 
called Kashmir a " terrestrial Paradise," and that 
Tom Moore was not far wrong when he sang — 

" And oh ! if there be an Elysium on earth, 
It is this ! it is this !" 



Travels in LadaJc^ '. 


^ " The wild Carmanian waste. 

And o'er the aerial mouutaius which 

pour down 
Indus and Oxus from their icy caves, 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 245 

E were now about twelve miles from Sree- 
nuggur, and had the choice of accomplish- 
ing that distance either by land or water, for we 
Jiad reached the chain of lake and river that 
stretches throughout the valley, and forms the 
principal means of communication from point to 
point. We chose the former mode of progression, 
much to the annoyance of the moonshee, who 
would evidently have preferred the cushioned 
ease" of the latter, and at about 9, a.m., found 
ourselves some three miles on our way, lying in 
the shade of a magnificent chunar-tree, devour- 
ing the accumulated results of a six weeks' dearth 
of news ; for a " dak" runner, with three English 
mails, had that instant met us. 

The chunar-tree {Platanus orientalis) is a very 
striking object in a Kashmir landscape; not- 
withstanding their extreme luxuriance of foliage, 
and the stately height to which they attain, they 
are said not to be indigenous to the valley, but 
to have been introduced by a governor of the 
name of All Mirahan Khan, who held office from 
1642 to 1657, under the Mogul dynasty. Of 
the mosques and garden palaces, the marble 

246 Travels in Ladak^ 

founts, and sculptured pillars, with which a suc- 
cession of Mogul emperors embellished the valley 
they loved so well, but few remain intact, and 
even these show marks of neglect, dilapidation, 
and rapid decay; but the chunars are in the 
lusty prime of life — more lasting memorials of 
the magnificence of the Delhi emperors than all 
the costlier monuments, the work of men's 

The suburbs of Sreenuggur call up reminis- 
cences of those of Constantinople, with their 
turbaned tombs of departed Moslems — their green 
luxuriance of nature, and squalid penury of art 
— but the fancied resemblance grows less and less 
as you approach the city. To enter it you pass 
no imperial walls or massive gateways, but little 
by little the houses huddle themselves closer 
together, and at last form a street, narrow and 
dirty and stony enough to induce a relapse into 
your dreamy memories of Stamboul, while here 
and there a high-featured face and stately form, 
in ample turban and flowing robe, stalks by and 
helps to keep up the delusion. But now a gap 
in the wall of houses on your right lets in a 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 247 

stream of warm light on the dark, foul footway, 
and through it you see close by you, not the broad 
bosom of the breezy Bosphorus or the crowded 
waters of the Golden Horn, but a sluggish 
stream, glittering in the sunlight, and covered 
with boats of all sizes ; some, heavily laden 
barges, are being slowly punted up stream, 
while others of lighter build glide past merrily, 
propelled by the rapid strokes of half-a-dozen 
paddles — it is a busy scene. And on the opposite 
side the river you see reproduced as in a mirror 
a facsimile of the bank you stand on — the same 
houses, the same landing-places, the same people 
— for it is the Jhelum that you look on ; and on 
his right bank and on his left stand the 
crowded dwellings of the capital of Kashmir — 

We are here stopped by a crowd of boatmen, 
women, and children, who assure us that it is 
the proper thing to dismount, and take boat for 
the rest of the journey; we are nothing loth, for 
the sun is hot, the lanes of the city close and odori- 
ferous, and the broad pathway of the Jhelum is 
decidedly preferable. We step into the nearest 

248 Travels in Ladak^ 

boat, and are soon lying under an awning of rough 
matting, leisurely proceeding up-stream, paddled 
by one old woman, two men, a boy, wlio does 
more work tlian the other three put together, 


and a child of tender years, who brandishes a 
mimic paddle, which retards rather than aids our 

We peep out from under our awning to the 
right and to the left on a strange scene. The 
houses on either side stand close to the water's 
edge, and some, supported by piles, project over 
it ; every here and there a flight of steps leads 
down to the river, looking up which you see a 
vista of picturesque lanes opening out into streets 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 249 

beyond — foul, dark, and odoriferous as the one 
you have just escaped from. And as a foreground 
to the picture, sitting on the steps nearest the 
water, are groups of straw-coloured women, with 
handsome features, and soft black eyes, clad in 
long wrappers of maroon- coloured stuff, and en- 
gaged in the wholesome occupation of washing 
themselves, the somewhat arduous one of washing 
their children, and the pleasant and congenial 
one of talking scandal. While round and about 
you bubble up on the surface of the stream the 
little black heads and merry faces of urchins 
who, though they scarce can walk, can swim, and 
dive, and desport them in the water like so many 

And so on, 'neath the shade of bridges, whose 
wooden piers for years four hundred have 
striven, and still strive, to goad that patient 
stream into fretfulness, but in vain — -his current 
flows on calm and placid as ever, unmindful of the 
interruption their passive resistance causes. He 
will soon have enough knocking about after 
Baramoola* is passed; besides, he loves Kashmir, 

* " From Barahraula to Mozafarabad, the Behat (Jhelum) 

250 Travels in Ladak^ 

and reluctant to leave her motherly embrace, 
dawdles on with lingering step ; but once away 
from her influence, he dashes on, a raving torrent, 
''lamenting," say the Kashmirians, "in foam and 
clamour, his departure from their beautiful 
valley soon houses disappear, and in their place 
green banks, planted with rows of poplar-trees, 
cast their cool shadow on the water ; and here 
and there a strange little edifice meets the eye, 
in front of which, lounging in easy-chairs, are the 
sort of people you see on Eyde pier, rather more 
hairy, possibly, and de^age in their attire ; but 
smoking, and reading the Times and Belts Life, 
discussing in the same language the self-same 
topics, and staring at you with the self-same 
air of impertinent curiosity, which says as plainly 

pursues an easterly course for 100 miles. The total fall 
between these places is 3500 feet, or 30 feet per mile, and 
the character of the river entirely changes from a placid and 
sluggish stream to a raving torrent. Below Tattamula, and 
about sixteen miles from Barahmula, the rocky cliffs rise 
almost perpendicularly from the river to a height of 300 or 
400 feet ; and in some places that I noticed, the bare steep 
cliffs were not less than 800 feet above the stream." — 
Cunningham's Laddk, p. 114. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 251 

as if the words were spoken — " And pray, who 
the deuce are you ?" 

A few more strokes of the paddles, and we are 
moored under the left bank of the river, and 
mounting the steps of a landing-place, find our- 
selves on a tolerably broad pathway shaded by 
the poplars before-mentioned ; on this pathway, 
and overlooking the river, is a long row of small, 
square, two-storied houses, built of wood — exag- 
gerated sentry-boxes, in fact, each with its private 
flight of stairs leading down to the water's edge. 

These " bungalows" (as, with an oriental disre- 
gard for truth, it is the fashion to term them,) 
have been built by the Maharajah of Kashmir, 
expressly for the accommodation of British 
visitors ; and although neither spacious nor well- 
furnished, their rooms are a pleasant change 
enough from the confined dimensions of a diminu- 
tive tent. The one opposite which we had landed 
had been reserved for the " oJQ&cial friend," and 
in front of it we found him and the rest of our 
camarades de voyage seated in arm-chairs, osten- 
sibly receiving and replying to the complimentary 
addresses of a gorgeous assemblage of Sreenuggur 

252 . Travels in Ladah^ 

swells — tlie mayor and corporation of the city- 
but in reality vying with each other in the 
luscious labour of emptying the baskets of grapes 
and peaches presented by those w^orthies, the 
fruit of whose gardens was evidently more ac- 
ceptable to the travellers than the flowers of their 

To the back of these bungalows stretches a 
grassy plain, where tents are pitched and horses 
picketed; and in their front rolls the smooth 
waters of the Jhelum, here about two hundred 
yards in breadth. Its opposite bank is planted with 
poplars and other trees, and every here and there 
the white canvas of an Englishman's tent peeps 
through the green foliage; while up and down to 
the right and to the left stretches the " Visitors' 
Beach," as this part of the river is called. The 
scene is not a strikingly beautiful one, but it is 
fresh and green, and home-like, reminding one of 
the boating and bathing of one's youth — of 
Jerseys, sculling matches, and four-oars ! ! 

Three of our party decide on taking up their 
quarters in the house the Maharajah had pro- 
vided for us, but the others say they prefer 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 253 

" dwelling in tents/'- — a difference of taste which 
is most opportune, for the visitors' bungalows are 
not calculated to hold more than three people at 
the outside. 

One of the first personages who meets you on 
your arrival in Kashmir is the " Baboo," a func-r 
tionary whose duty it is to see that all visitors to; 
the valley are made as comfortable as possible. 
He is your landlord, your upholsterer, the di- 
rector of your post-office arrangements, jowv 
general agent — in fine, a most useful fellow; and 
one of the first things he does is to show you a 
book, in which are inscribed all the fashionable 
arrivals of the season. Half-an-hour's talk with 
him (he speaks capital English, and is very civil 
and obliging) makes you au fait of all the doings 
of the little colony of British visitors; he is a 
sort of peripatetic Court Jourfial ^ndi Morning Post 
all in one. 

Of these visitors, you will find that some are 
mighty hunters, and are ever away in the wilds, 
only showing their bronzed faces in Sreenuggur 
once or twice a month, when they return for 
more powder and shot, or a peep at the home 

254 Travels in Ladak^ 

papers. Others pursue sport, too, but in a milder 
form, and maj be seen from early morn to 
" dewy eve" plying the fisher's gentle art on lake 
and river ; others sketch ; and others in a de- 
sultory way afiect natural philosophy, and pre- 
tend to make collections of flowers or stones, 
accordingly as their tastes happen to be botanical 
or geological ; while others, and by far the 
greater number, do nothing, and do that nothing 
very well ! 

With the one exception of the photographer, 
who was indefatigable, we all at once enrolled 
ourselves in the ranks of the listless band of " do- 
nothings," and provided ourselves at once with a 
boat a-piece — an indispensable article of equip- 
ment in that volunteer corps — to procure wliich 
requires no effort, save the mental one of choice ; 
for immediately on arrival a swarm of boatmen 
buzz around you, pressing on your perusal cer- 
tificates of industry, or the reverse — of good 
conduct, or a general aptitude for rascality (which, 
by the bye, is with them the best recommen- 
dation) from former employers. 

It is not an expensive addition to your estab- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 255 

lishment ; you pay your boatmen five shillings 
a month a-piece, and they supply the boat, moor 
it at your door, and are always ready to paddle 
you up or down stream, whither you will ; night 
or day they are at your service; nor are their 
avocations strictly confined to lake or river, they 
will act in any capacity, and can turn their hands 
to anything ; could they keep them from picking 
and stealing, they would be invaluable servants — 
but their honesty, alas ! is not above suspicion ; 

" De boatman dance, 
De boatman sing, 
De boatman bim up to ebery ting 

and notwithstanding his want of discrimination 
between 7neum and tuum^ the coxswain of a boat 
generally succeeds in gaining the entire confi- 
dence of his master for the time being. 

The boats are long, narrow, and flat-bottomed, 
built like canoes, and at the extremities slightly 
curved up out of the water ; the boatmen sit and 
paddle at either end, while the centre of the skifi* 
is reserved for the " Sahib." Here he reclines on 
cushions, shaded from the sun by an awning of 

256 Travels in Ladak^ 

matting, and thus lounging, is by no means an 
object of pity. 

We fell quite naturally into " tlie even tenor'' 
of tlie ways of the " do-nothings and as the 
shadows began to lengthen on the first day of 
our arrival, we found ourselves stepping into our 
canoes and preparing for our evening pull on 
the still waters of the Jlielum as if we had done 
so all our lives. 

The river, from the " Visitors' Eeach" to the 
last of the bridges — and there are seven — forms 
the Mall or promenade — the Eotten-row of 
Sreenuggur. This is the invariable resort of the 
" do-nothing" in the cool of the evening ; lan- 
guidly smoking a cigar, he leans back on his 
cushions, and is paddled up and down, and down 
and up again, till it grows dark, when he is 
paddled off, and is seen no more till the next 
evening — for the existence of the " do-nothing" 
is not a sociable one. We noticed them passing 
and repassing each other without the most 
distant sign of recognition ; they do not attempt 
to extend tlie circle of their acquaintance, fJiat 
would be doing something — a something, too, 

Tartar and Kashmir, 257 

that would involve a still further labour, such as 
a morning call, or possibly an invitation to 
dinner; and exertions arduous as these are quite 
incompatible with the dolce far niente of a " do- 
nothing's" life. 


Near the arches of every bridge are groups ol 
fishermen, standing erect in the bow of their 
boats, "throwing a fly" with most commendable 
perseverance. " That sahib," said one of my 
boatmen, " has been here for four years, fishing 
the whole of the season, and every morning and 
every evening has whipped the water under that 
very identical arch. Oh! it's a great sahib for 
fish 1" Possibly the man lied, and no doubt he 


258 Travels in Ladak^ 

exaggerated greatly ; but during the ten days we 
spent at Sreenuggur, I never passed that bridge, 
morning or evening, without finding that devoted 
disciple of Izaak Walton at his post, rod in 
hand, whipping the stream as perseveringly as 

The banks of the river present much the same 
appearance as they did in the morning, save that 
the bathing machines are fuller — for such we 
discovered some strange wooden erections to be, 
which, moored at intervals to the shore on either 
side the river, seem to float on the water. 
These were now in constant requisition, and we 
should have come away deeply impressed with 
the personal cleanliness of the inhabitants of 
Sreenuggur, had we not remarked that the dirty 
old loose wrapper — the usual dress of the Kash- 
miris of both sexes — was invariably donned again 
after the operation ; a relapse into which " vile 
habit" must militate fatally against the healthful 
and cleansing results of a dip in the Jhelum. 

But now the sun has sunk below the houses, 
of the city to our left, and its slanting rays can 
no longer annoy you, so the boatmen stow away 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 259 

the awning, and permit your gaze to wander 

upwards from the bathing machines, boats, and 

landing-stairs to the trellised windows of the 

picturesque houses above you; some of which, 

perched on slender piles, lean over the water, 

and seem to have serious intentions of taking an 

evening stroll on stilts. Seen dimly through the 

delicately -carved woodwork of the half-open 

lattice, you will now and then, if you are lucky, 

catch a glimpse of the graceful form and face of 

some fair Kashmirian girl, with braided tresses, 

and dark bright eyes slyly peeping out on the 

crowded river below. And now, his day's work 

done, the pleasure-loving Kashmiri begins to 

enjoy himself; sounds of mirth and laughter, of 

music and merriment, are borne out to you from 

those mysterious casements, for there abide the 

queens of dance and song — 

*' Those songs that ne'er so sweetly sound, 
As from a young Kashmirian's mouth," 

and boats freighted with bundles of dim drapery, 
whence peep little jewelled hands and slippered 
feet, glide past you — 

" Youth at the helm and pleasure at the prow." 

s 2 

260 Travels in Ladak^ 

The Eotten-row of Sreeniiggur has, I regret to 
say, its " pretty horsebreakers" too ! 

But it is time to turn round, for we have 
reached the seventh bridge, and 'tis a long pull 
back far up " the dim, rich city," to our home 
under the poplar trees. 

The delight of a plunge in the river is our 
first waking thought, and attired simply in 
dressing-gown and slippers, we shuffle, half-awake, 
into our boat, which is paddled into mid-stream. 
Then, after pausing for one timorous instant on 
the gunwale, we throw ourselves overboard, and 
float lazily down stream, exulting in the refreshing 
chill of the water, as yet untouched by the sun : 
then cofiee or chocolate, a cigar, a stroll up the 
river-bank, a leisurely toilette, and so to breakfast 
about ten of the clock — such the daily programme 
of our early morning performances in Kashmir. 

And now a crowd of Kashmiris, manufacturers 
of shawls, gunmakers, workers in leather, in 
papier macli^, jewellers, tailors, shoemakers, 
watch-menders, &c. &c., besiege us. They are 
remarkable for mechanical talent. Kashmir 
shawls have achieved a world-wide reputation; 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 261- 

their gun, pistol, and matchlock barrels are much 
prized by natives, holding a second rank to those 
of Scinde only. Of their papier mache, all those 
who have the luck to see the Exhibition of 1862 
will have an opportunity of judging. The 

1 jewellers, shoemakers, and tailors only want a 

I pattern ; they will imitate it with the minutest 
accuracy ; and if your watch is out of order, you 
may entrust it without compunction to that 
ill-looking fellow in a greasy gaberdine, who will 
squat down in a corner of your room or tent, 
deliberately take it to pieces, and perform all 

j necessary repairs there in your presence. 

, We sent word to the two great shawl merchants 
of Sreenuggur that we would honour them with 
a visit, if they would fix the day, for the shawls 
that are hawked about by the natives who fre- 
quent " Visitors' Eeach" are not worth an in- 

It is a pleasant morning's lounge (though apt 
1 to prove an expensive one) through the show- 
j rooms of the Kashmir shawl-merchants. Of 
these, Muktah Shah and Syf-oolali Baba are the 
most celebrated, the former for the shawls manu- 

262 Travels in Ladah^ 

factured in a loom, tlie latter for those worked 
by hand; thongli the productions of the loom 
are much the most valued of the two kinds of 
manufactures, I had the bad taste to prefer the 

They are most comfortable fellows, and own 
the best houses in the city, these merchant princes 
of Kashmir. After landing at the little wharf 
which stretches out into the water from beneath 
the shade of their well-built warehouses, you are 
shown through a narrow door, up a narrow stair- 
case, and soon find yourself in a light, airy, well- 
carpetted room overhanging the river; a small 
table and a few chairs in honour of European 
visitors, a low divan for the accommodation of 
Orientals, form the sole furniture of the apart- 
ment. The master of the house soon makes his 
appearance. He is a tall, high-featured, well- 
looking Mahommedan, with a partially shaven 
upper lip, but long and glossy beard ; his manners 
are those of a past age — past, at least, for Europe. 
He is an Oriental Sir Charles Grandison. 

After a little preliminary converse, during 
which tea, grapes, and biscuits are brought in 

Tartar and Kashmir, 263 

and laid out on the little table before yon, the 
topic " shawls/' by ntter chance, as it seems to 
you, comes on the tapis, and then slaves, bare- 
footed and obsequious, come staggering in under 
mighty bales, whose contents are soon spread 
before you — treasures of the loom and cunning 
hand. Sir Charles Grandison now seats himself 
— I will not say squats — at your feet, and as 
each marvel of art is in succession displayed, 
courteously points out to you its beauties, dis- 
cusses its merits and probable value ; in fact, he 
begins to bargain, though the word fails to convey 
any notion of his manner. He is not a linen- 
draper trying to show off his goods to the best 
advantage, but rather a country squire showing 
to his guests with a pardonable pride his stable, 
his pigs, his fatted bulls of Bashan, or whatever 
else may be his hobby ! 

The shawl dealers complained one and all of 
the slackness of trade. The demand for Kashmir 
shawls has dwindled in extent proportionably as 
British supremacy has spread northwards from 
Bengal Proper ; for we are content with — in fact, 
rather prefer — tweeds and broadcloths, sombre 

264 Travels in Ladah^ 

suits of dittos, to the gorgeous colours of the 
Kashmir fabric ; EUwood's patent helmets, or the 
modest wide-awake, to the graceful folds of an 
embroidered turban ; and are wont, either by 
elastic braces, or often simply by the nearer 
propinquity of button and button-hole, to support 
our nether garments, making the costly " cum- 
merbund," or girdle, an objet de luxe quite uncalled- 
for ; and even our ladies, much as they prize a real 
Kashmir shawl, are apt to think that one hundred 
pounds can be spent much more profitably than 
in the purchase of one ; whereas in olden days, the 
native Courts were an unfailing annual source of 
revenue to the Sreenuggur manufacturer. The 
fall of Lucknow had been his last and bitterest 
blow ! 

Having spent a morning or two with Messieurs 
Muktah Shah and Syf-oolah Baba, and paddled 
two or three times up and down the river, you 
may be said to have done Sreenuggur, for there is 
but little else to interest the traveller in the city 

There are indeed one or two musjids or mosques 
of great antiquity, and not without some claim 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 265 

to arcliitectural beauty, but in order to get to 
tbem I should have to lead you through back 
slums so noisome, that I will, out of a due regard 
for your comfort, content me with assuring you 
that they are not worth seeing. There are in 
odd corners remains of walls built of great slabs 
of stone, mute witnesses to a past magnificence, 
which offer a strange contrast to the ricketty 
dwellings of half-burnt bricks and wood of which 
they frequently form the foundation, and on which 
the antiquarian would love to ponder, and the 
sentimental traveller to moralize, but I lack both 
the lore of the one and the sentiment of the 
other, so will hold my peace. 

There is the Hurree-purwat Fort, overhanging 
the town, which, seen from the river, is a striking 
structure enough, but it will not bear inspection ; 
its walls are weak, indebted to plaster mainly for 
the imposing effect they produce at a distance, 
and its three cannon are honeycombed. There is 
the palace of the Maharajah, a long labyrinth of 
brick walls and dingy woodwork skirting the 
Jhelum's left bank, here and there relieved by a 
gilt dome, mounted on a whitewashed tower ; it 


Travels in Ladah, 

is empty now, for the 
Maharaja]! prefers the 
dignified retirement of 
Jumnoo to a residence 
in his capital — and no 
wonder ! It must be a 
horrid bore for such a 
potentate to have his 
dominions annually in- 
vaded by a crowd of 
shooting-coated subal- 
terns, who, as lie passes 
them in his gilded 


Tartary^ and Kashmir, 267 

barge, vouchsafe to acknowledge his presence by 
a condescending nod or a patronizing wave of 
the hand, notwithstanding that these Goths and 
Vandals put indirectly so many Company's rupees 
into his Highness's pocket. 

The bridges, too, are picturesque, built entirely 
of wood, resting on piers formed of massive blocks 
of cedar (deodar), and some have rows of shops 
on them, flanking the footway on either side, re- 
minding one of ancient prints of Old London 
Bridge ; but all these sights have been sketched 
and written about by able pencils and learned 
pens, and you, reader, doubtless know quite as 
much about them as I do — for 

" Who has not heard of the vale of Cashmere " 1 

Let us, then, pass away from the crowded path- 
way of the Jhelum, leave behind us Sreenuggur 
and its busy trafiic, and tell our boatmen to ex- 
plore that canal to the left, the greensward and 
overhanging foHage of whose thickly-planted 
banks promise a pleasant change to the tumble- 
down houses and dark lanes that have so long 
hemmed us in. 


Travels in Ladah^ 

It leads — 

" Through the mountainous portal that opes 
Sublime, from that valley of bliss to the world," 

to the " Dal," or lake, behind the city. 

To speak truly, it requires a great amount of 
imagination to recognise Tom Moore's " moun- 
tainous portal" (of which Feramorz leads us to 
form such extravagant notions) when you see it. 
A pair of massive wooden folding gates, through 
which your boat glides, is all that at first meets 
the eye ; and they actually and prosaically form 
the entrance to the lake. But away to the right, 
a considerable eminence, known as the Tukht-i- 
Soliman,* or Solomon's Seat, rises from a green 

* " The legends of the country assert that Solomon visited 
this valley, and finding it covered, except the hill on which 
some Mahommedan has dedicated a temple to King Solomon, 
with a noxious water which had no outlet, he opened a 
passage in the mountains (at Baramoula), and gave to Kash- 
mire its beautiful plains." — Forster. 

On legends such as these a supposition that the Kashmiris 
are descendants of the Jews has been built — a supposition 
which is borne out by the personal appearance of the race — 
their garb, the cast of their countenances, and the form of 
the beards. There is a belief, too, that Moses died in the 
capital of Kashmire, and that he is buried near it. 

The Suliman, or Sulayman, however, of Oriental legend. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 


bed of gardens and orcliards, and mai/ be said, 

must not be always supposed to be identical with the son of 

" No name is more famous in the East than Solomon ; he 
succeeded his father David, according to their belief, when 
only twelve years old, at which age Omnipotence placed 
under his obedience not only mankind, but even the ele- 
ments and the genii, good and bad. His throne was mag- 
nificent beyond idea — 12,000 seats of gold being placed 
on the right for the patriarchs and prophets, and 12,000 on 
the left for men learned in every science. The birds were 
his constant attendants, screening him like a canopy from the 
inclemencies of the weather j whilst the zephyrs, wafting him 
wherever he wished to go, rendered horses or any carriage 
unnecessary. All the wonderful traditions, however, relative 
to Solomon, are not confined to the son of David. The 
heroic or fabulous ages of the Persians go far beyond those 
of the Europeans — the world, agreeably to their system, 
being peopled thousands of years before Adam by ethereal 
or igneal beings, governed by a succession of seventy-two 

" The supernatural powers supposed to be vested in these 
ante- Adamite monarchs, as well as in the King of Judah, 
are figured to have been chiefly derived from the curious 
talismans they were said to have possessed — to which allusion 
is often made, not only in their poems and romances, but in 
their graver works, and the Koran itself ; such as the * Seal, ' 
the ' flaming sword,' the ' impenetrable cuirass,' the ' shield' 
of Solomon — -which last, they add, was bequeathed by Jan 
biu Jan, one of the ante-Adamite kings, to the father of 
mankind, who carried it to Sarandib (Ceylon), where it was 
many ages afterwards discovered by Kayumars, the first 
king of Persia, from whom, descending to his grandson, 

270 Travels in Laddk^ 

2JoeticalIy^ speaking, to " form one side of a grand 
23ortal to the lake." But for the other side you 

have to look a long way — as 

■'^^^^^"^mr far, even, as the height on 

which the fort is huilt, which 
from Solomon's Seat must be 
some three miles distant. So 

that this poetical portal is, to say the least, a 
tolerably wide one ! 

Tahmuras, it was by tliat prince employed so successfully in 
his war with the Dives, that he got the surname of Div-band, 
or chainer of demons."— Vide Richardson's Dictionary. 
* Forster says so in sober prose. — Author. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 


But we have still a long pull through, a narrow 
channel ere the broad expanse of lake opens out 
in front of us ; and then its surface is so thickly 
covered with the broad leaves and rosy flowers of 
the lotus, and the tangled green of the sinhara, 
or water -nut — its sides so concealed by floating 
gardens* — that it is difficult to form any idea of 

* " Another and an important use made of the abundant 
water-surface of Kashmir, is the formation of floating gar- 
dens. Various aquatic plants spring from the bottom of 
the lakes — as water-lilies, confervse, sedges, reeds, &c.; and as 
the boats which traverse these waters take generally the 
shortest lines they can pursue to the place of their destina- 
tion, the lakes are in some parts cut as it were in avenues 
amongst the plants, which in shallows are separated by beds 
of sedges and of reeds. In the latter places the neighbour- 
ing farmer attempts to establish his cucumber and melon 
floats, by cutting off the roots of the aquatic plants just 
mentioned, about two feet under the water, so that they 
completely lose all connexion with the bottom of the lake, 
but retain their former situation in respect to each other. 
When thus detached from the soil they are pressed into 
somewhat closer contact, and formed into beds of about two 
yards in breadth, and of an indifferent length. The heads 
of the sedges, reeds, and other plants of the float are now 
cut off and laid on its surface, and covered with a thin coat 
of mud, which, at first intercepted in its descent, gradually 
sinks into the mass of matted roots. The bed floats, but is 
kept in its place by a stake of willow driven through it at 
each end, which admits of its rising or falling in accommo- 


Travels in Ladak^ 

its size. The first glimpse is, however, enough 
to convince you of its beauty. 

To the left, the eye wanders lingeringly over a 
fertile tract of lake and meadow, to where the 

dation to the rise or fall of the water. By means of a long 
pole thrust among the weeds at the bottom of the lake from 
the side of a boat, and turned round several times in the 
same direction, a quantity of confervse and of other plants is 
torn off from the bottom, and carried in the boat to the plat- 
form, where the weeds are twisted into conical mounds about 
two feet in diameter at their base, and of the same height, 
terminating at the top in a hollow, which is filled with fresh 
soft mud drawn from the bottom of the lake, to which 
sometimes wood ashes are added, though much more fre- 
quently omitted. The farmer has in preparation a large 
number of cucumber and melon plants which have been 
raised under mats, and of these, when they have four leaves, 
he places three plants in the basin of every cone or mound, 
of which a double row runs along the edge of every bed, at 
about two feet distance from each other. 

" No further care is necessary, except that of collecting 
the fruit, and the expense of preparing the platforms and 
cones is confined to that of the labour, which altogether is 
trifling, as the work is very soon done. 

" Perhaps a more economical method of raising cucumbers 
cannot be devised, and though the narrow beds are ordinarily 
almost in contact by their sides, yet by their flexible nature 
they are so separable that a small boat may be readily pushed 
between the lines without injuring their structure, and for 
the most part they will bear a man's weight, but generally 
the fruit is plucked off from the boat." — Moorcroft's Travels. 


T aviary^ and Kashmir. 27 S 

Hurree-purwat Fort shows a castellated line 
against the blue sky. Then, ranging the horizon 
from left to right, you see successively the 
Nusseem Bagh, or the Garden of the Morning 
Breeze ; behind which rises in the distance a blue 
line of hills, which come nearer and nearer as the 
eye travels on to the right, till they seem to 
spring from the very banks of the lake, just 
where a thick grove of trees marks the site of 
the "magnificent Shahlimar;" and in a line 
between ifc and you is the little Isle of Chunars, 
called by the Kashmiris the Chandee-ke-Cank, 
or Silver Island. To the right of Shahlimar, 
again, are the Gardens of Pleasaunce, the Nishat 
Bagh ; and from thence the gaze rests on a lovely 
prospect of hills mirroring themselves in the 
smooth surface of the lake they encircle — 
wherever the lotus will allow them an uninter- 
rupted view of themselves, past the little 
" Golden Island," or Sonar-ke-Cank, the Peri 
Mahal, or Fairy Castle — a picturesque ruin over- 
hanging the water ; back to the Tukht-i-Soliman, 
beyond which again rise the snowy peaks that 
tower above the passes out of Kashmir. 


274 Travels in Ladah^ 

Let US tell our boatmen to paddle slowly on to 
the isle of Chunar, which seems to float on the 
water about a mile a-head of us. It is just big 
enough to afford a resting-place to a little ruin 


so dilapidated that the eye fails to trace its ori- 
ginal form ; and to two lofty cliunar trees, which 
completely overshadow it, and hide with pious 
care its venerable remains from the rude gaze of 
the passer-by. 

The day is now drawing to a close, and we see 
the lake at its best — 

" At sunset, when warm o'er the lake, 
Its splendour at parting a summer eve throws, 
Like a bride full of blushes, when lingering to take 
A last look at her mirror at night when she goes." 

Tariary^ and Kashmir, 275 

The boatmen are quite alive to the beauty of 
the scene — though so common a one to them — 
for they love and are proud of their far-famed 
lake; gathering lotus-flowers as they paddle 
homewards, they wreathe them round their 
turbans, and sing long ballads in praise of the 
loveliness of their valley and the charms of its 
fair daughters, beating time to their voices with 
the pleasant plash of the paddle. 

There is one little drawback to the enjoyment 

of boating on the lake, which, strange to say, 

Tom Moore omitted to mention ; neither Fera- 

morz, nor Lalla Eookh, nor even Fadladeen, say 

or sing one word about it — and that is, the 

mosquitoes, which are as monstrous in size as 

they are pertinacious in their attacks. They are 

always in season, too; wild duck migrate, and 

the lotus ceases to bloom, but the mosquito of 

Kashmir appears to be quite above all such 

frailties— he never moults, or loses his appetite — 

" Fee-fo-fum, 
I smell the blood of an Englishman," 

he hisses in your ear, and woe to the Saxon he 
takes a fancy to. 

T 2 

276 Travels in Ladak, 

I have purposely omitted to describe the Shah- 

limar Gardens whilst recounting the beauties of 

the lake in the sunshine. It, like Melrose, to be 

" viewed aright," should be visited " by the pale 


" For the gay beams of liglitsome day, 
Gild, but to flout, its ruins grey." 

This queen of gardens does not look well by 
daylight ; but at night, if properly bedecked with 
torches, and crowned with lamps, you do not 
remark the ravages Time has made in her com- 
plexion, and she still has power to charm — 

" Where the waterfalls gleam like a quick fall of stars, 
And the nightingale's hymn from the isle of Chunars, 
Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet." 

The proper thing to do is to give orders for a 
nautch at Shahlimar — to tell your Ali Bux that 
you will dine in the largest of the summer 
palaces — to read nothing but Zaila Bookh all day, 
and towards evening to step into your boat and 
glide over the still lake to the gardens, doing 
your best to feel 

"As felt the magnificent son of Ackbar." 
It is by no means a difficult illusion to get up ; 

Tartar and Kashmir. 277 

the accessories to the picture are all perfect — the 
smooth, rapid motion — the still, slumbering ex- 
panse of water, that wakes and ripples into a 
momentary smile as you pass, and then sinks 
back into its wonted repose — the sparkling, 
diamond-like drops that the quick strokes of the 
paddle dash up on to the broad lotus leaves, that 
quiver there an instant, and are gone — the mys- 
terious rustle of yielding leaves as your boat 
presses through them in her course — the delicate- 
hued flowers that bend towards you in courteous 
welcome as your keel grazes their floating roots 
— the laughter which strikes on your ear as you 
pass rapidly by boats freighted with fair members 
of the corps de ballet — the blaze of torches as 
you land, which makes the sequestered bowers of 
the garden seem yet darker and more mysterious 
— the constant plash of fountains, sparkling in 
the light of the lamps that illumine them — and, 
better than all (for it is no phantom form, no 
shadowy spirit of air), the face that peeps play- 
fully from under the white folds of a half-raised 
veil, fair enough to be that of Nourmahal, the 
Light of the Harem's self. With " aids to re- 

278 Travels in Ladah^ 

flection" such as these, it is not difiicult to 
imagine yourself for the nonce a " proud lord of 
the East." 

Bernier, who visited Kashmir in 1668, thus 
describes the garden of those days : — 

"The most beautiful of all these gardens is 
one belonging to the King, called Shalimar. ^ 
The entrance from the lake is through a spacious i 
canal, bordered with green turf, and running j 
between two rows of poplars. Its length is about i 
five hundred paces, and it leads to a large summer- | 
house placed in the middle of the garden. A 
second canal, still finer than the first, then 
conducts you to another summer-house at the 
end of the garden. This canal is paved with 
large freestone, and its sloping sides are covered 
with the same. In the middle is a long row of 
jets d'eau, or waterworks, fifteen paces asunder ; 
besides which there are here and there large 
circular basins or reservoirs, out of which arise 
other jets d'eau, formed into a variety of shapes 
and figures. 

" The summer-houses are placed in the midst 
of the canal, consequently surrounded by water. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 279 

and between the two rows of large poplars 
planted on either side. They are built in the 
form of a dome, and encircled by a gallery, into 
which four doors open ; two looking up or down 
the canal, and two leading to bridges which con- 
nect the building with both banks. The houses 
consist of a large room in the centre, and of four 
smaller apartments, one at each corner. The 
whole of the interior is painted and gilt ; and on 
the walls of all the chambers are inscribed certain 
sentences, written in splendid Persian characters. 
The four doors are extremely valuable, being 
composed of rare and large stone, and supported 
by two beautiful pillars. The doors and pillars 
were found in some of the pagan temples de- 
molished by Shah Jehan, and it is impossible to 
estimate their value. I cannot describe the 
nature of the stone ; but it is far superior to 
porphyry, or any species of marble." 

It has now lost much of its beauty from 
neglect. Gaudy Hindoo paintings have here 
and there disfigured the walls and roofs of the 
summer-houses. Nor has the pencil or burnt 
stick of Brown, Jones, and Eobinson been idle in 

280 Travels in Ladah^ 

portraying its familiar fancies on stucco and 
marble. But the " pale moonlight" softens down, 
where it does not actually conceal, these bar- 
barisms of modern date. The porphyry pillars 
and galleried summer-houses are all there still ; 
and the giant boughs of the graceful chunar 
trees (mere shrubs when Bernier saw them) now 
o'ershadow in their turn the formal poplars, and 
lend a charm to the scene it never knew in those 
old days — fully compensating for the results of 
Hindoo neglect and bad taste, and the unsight- 
liness of British frescoes. 

The streams that fed the canal, and which flow 
down from the mountains at the back, are now 
all turned off for purposes of irrigation, and the 
canal is dry and choked with weeds ; the water- 
works are waterless, save on gala nights such as 
this, when at the bidding of Englishmen the 
mountain streams resume their ancient channel, 
and seek the well-known path to Shahlimar, there 
to be tortured into waterfalls and jets d'eau, to 
be forced into pipes and 'prisoned in freestone 
reservoirs, while the fields and meadows languish 
for want of their fertilizing moisture. But I am 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 281 

forgetting; such a sentiment as that last was 
utterly unworthy of a son of Ackbar : and this 
reminds me that it would be as well to lay aside 
our assumed character for the present. It is 
dinner time ! and chicken, cutlets, and sherry, 
porter and roast mutton, anchovy toast, and 
brandy and soda water, are dainties which poor 
Selim, though he seems to have liked his glass of 
wine, never dreamed of. 

We dine in a spacious hall, open on one side 
to a mimic lake, bristling with water-spouts, and 
fed by a prettily-managed waterfall, whose stream 
falls over niches in which little lamps are 
gleaming, now brightly, now dimly, as the watery 
veil that covers them varies in its volume. On 
the other side a handsome corridor leads out on 
to a stone platform of some extent, whence a 
long vista of lamps and sparkling jets d'eau 
stretches away down to the large lake. This 
path of light tapers away till the eye loses it in 
the distance ; the black shadows of the trees and 
tangled thickets of the garden close it in on 
either side, and above, in a sea of fleecy vapour, 
floats serenely the lady moon. On this platform 

282 Travels in Ladak^ 

preparations are being made for the nautch. Al- 
ready has a white floorcloth, been spread, the 
orchestra is beginning to tune up, and the merry 
prattle of women's voices tells us that the fair 
artistes are only awaiting our good pleasure to 
commence their performance. 

Apart from the strange beauty of the scene 
around, the nautch itseK was a vastly superior 
performance to any I had yet seen. The orchestra, 
of pipes and tabors, guitars and drums, occupied 
the back of the stage ; in front of them sat de- 
murely about a dozen nautch girls ; and between 
the ladies and our arm-chairs stretched the white 
floorcloth on which they were to dance. Wliile 
on either side was a closely-packed row of 
turbaned heads, among which we easily recognise 
our friend Syf-oolah-Baba ; and torch-bearers and 
boatmen, mingled wdth our own servants, are 
grouped at the back. 

The musicians remained seated — a great im- 
provement on the habits of their class down 
country, who move backwards and forwards, as 
the dancers advance or recede, singing louder 
tlian the prima donna herself; here, however, 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 283 

tliey contented themselves with playing a low, 
soft accompaniment to the girls' voices ; and 
their venerable beards, finely-cut features, and 
picturesque dress, formed a pleasing and appro- 
priate background to the picture. 

The ballet commenced at a sign from the 
Jemadar, or master of the revels, a little wiry, 
bright-eyed old man, who seemed to rule the 
corps de ballet with a rod of iron. Obedient to 
his nod, two of the nautch girls rose, the 
orchestra played a wild prelude, and then began 
a somewhat monotonous pantomime of waving 
arms and supple forms, in which (a strange con- 
trast to our notions of dancing) the feet bore the 
smallest part. The two danseuses moved slowly 
and smoothly towards, and round, and away from 
each other, never allowing the feet to leave the 
floor; accompanying their gestures, which are 
certainly graceful and expressive, with a low, 
plaintive chant, that at intervals broke forth into 
a wild burst of song, whose harshness grated on 
our ears, but was received with unequivocal signs 
of approbation by the native audience. 

Jacquemont says — " Leur danse est deja, pour 

284 Travels in Ladak^ 

mo\, la plus gracieuse, et la plus seduisante du 

" Les entrechats et les pirouettes de Topera rae 
semblent comme des gambades de sauvages de la 
mer du Sud, et le stupide trepignement des 
negres ; au reste, c'est dans le nord de I'lndustan 
que ces natch girls sont le plus celebres." But I 
am not prepared to echo the learned Frenchman's 

Of the two first performers, one was a beau- 
tiful girl, tall and svelte, with a complexion fair 
as that of many of our own countrywomen ; the 
other showed at a disadvantage by her side, and 
appeared to have been selected purposely as a foil 
by the proud beauty. Their costume, with the 
exception of their head-dress, a little fez-shaped 
cap of gold embroidery, from beneath which their 
dark hair fell in long plaits, was hideous ; clothed 
from chin to foot in a shapeless shroud of stiff 
brocade and amber-coloured satin, which effec- 
tually concealed any grace of form they might 
possess, their attire was about as complete a 
contrast as is well possible to the maillots et jupes 
de (jaze of our fi(/urantes. Imagine a Quakeress 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 285 

doomed to array herself in such colours, it is thus 
she would arrange them. 

The rest of the performance was but a repeti- 
tion of the first act — the same monotony of dance 
and song, varied only by a change of performers 
— and we begin to yawn, and wonder what 
o'clock it is, which the Jemadar perceiving, orders 
the tall beauty and her dusky companion again 
to the front, places long wands in their hands, 
and as the band strikes up a livelier air the 
Amazons enact a mimic combat. 

This over, we seriously think of going, but 
insist, before we actually depart, on one more 
song from " Ghoolabie," the belle of the evening; 
but she is coy, and has got a cold, and is tired ; 
in fact, she wants pressing, and it is some time 
ere she can be prevailed on to lay aside her Dehli 
looking-glass, the gift of some one of her many 
admirers, and yield to our entreaties. At last 
she comes forward and sings, after an affected 
little cough or two, some such words as these : — 

" Sleep ! sleep ! let me sing thee to sleep. 
Sleep while my tresses o'er thee 
Fall in a fragrant caress. 


Travels in Ladah^ 

Sleep, for to watch thee reposing 
Is to me deep happiness. 
Sleep, sleep, let me sing thee to sleep. 

" Wake ! wake ! let me kiss thee awake. 
Wake from thy dreams of beauty 
To the warmth of a real embrace. 
Wake from the chain of night's shadowy thrall. 
Wake ! see the morn in my face ! 
\Vake, wake, let me kiss thee awake. 

" Stay! stay! let me pray thee to stay. 

That the red light of returning day ! 
Nay ! 'tis not sunset yet ! 
'Tis but the gleam of his evening ray. 
That slants through the lattice still. 
Stay, stay, let me pray thee to stay !" 


Tartary^ and Kashmir. 287 

But the last stanza fails to sta^ us, and there is 
now a general move, for the lamps begin to burn 
dimly, and ^Qjets d'eau to give symptoms of a 
failure of the water supply ; and betaking our- 
selves to our boats we paddle homewards o'er the 
still waters, while our boatmen enliven their toil 
by repeating snatches of the parting song of the 
fair — 

" Kashmirian's tTTTro^a/xoto," 
which still rings in their ears. 


Travels in Ladak^ 


HEEE was but one 
other occurrence dur- 
ing our ten days' stay in 
Sreenuggur worth chroni- 
cling, and that was the re- 
view of the victorious army 
of Gilgit,* under its colo- 
nels, Devi Singh and Dooloo Singh. 

This occurred one Sunday afternoon just out- 
side the city. The army consisted of three regi- 
ments of foot, the two other branches of the ser- 

* Vide Api)endix. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, ' 289 

vice did not put in an appearance ; the horses of 
the cavalry, we found, had all been sent out to 
grass, and as for the artillery, we could get no 
satisfactory replies to our inquiries about it ; in 
fact, some of the sceptically inclined amongst us 
presumed to form doubts as to whether it really 

They marched past in slow time steadily 
enough, except when they kicked their shoes off 
in their strenuous exertions to " throw the foot 
out well." This occurred frequently, and the 
sight of a man in the front rank suddenly stop- 
ping, backing on to his rear-rank man and 
shoving him out of his place, staring wildly 
about for a second or two till he caught sight of 
the missing article of equipment — his shoe — lying 
in the dust, pouncing on it, and picking it up just 
in time to save its being trampled on by the next 
advancing company, and then doubling back into 
the ranks again, was one calculated in a measure 
to detract from the martial effect of a manoeuvre, 
however well it might have otherwise been 

After marching past they went through a few 

290 Travels in Ladak^ 

light infantry movements, and to our dismay fired 
off at the spectators an immense amount of blank 
ammunition, fortunately without any serious re- 
sult, and the review was over. 

The uniform of the Maharajah's troops was a 
strange mixture of the old British regulation 
coatee and the Oriental turban, and their equip- 
ment somewhat similar to that of our own sol- 
diers in the days of flint-locks, save that they all 
wore at their side a sharp-edged " tulwar" in its 
wooden scabbard. 

Colonel Devi Singh, who was introduced to us, 
was one of the handsomest men I ever saw in my 
life, and looked the soldier all over ; his turban, 
small, but beautifully folded, was tastefully ar- 
ranged ; his coatee of red cloth blazed with gold 
embroidery, and fitted him well ; white trousers, 
and shoes of Oriental shape, completed his 

His colleague in arms was a strange Hudi- 
brastic figure that Hogarth would have rejoiced 
in ; the grotesque effect of his personal defects 
(he was not an Antinous) was heightened by the 
bad taste and incongruities of his dress, and 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 291 

Colonel Devi Singh was, I thought, rather 
ashamed of him, although quite conscious that 
his own appearance gained by the contrast. 


We left Sreenuggur on the morning of the 
15th of September; our party now reduced to 
three, for the photographer had discovered an old 
chum amongst the visitors to the valley, who had 
prevailed on him to desert us, and the two Eifle- 
men could not afford the time our somewhat cir- 
cuitous route homewards needed. 

u 2 

292 Travels in Ladak^ 

The first part of our journey was by water ; 
we had the option of going by land, but a ten 
days' sojourn in the Capua of Hindostan had 
served to eradicate much of our Himalaya be- 


gotten energy, and soften our muscles. It was 
delightful to watch the smile of contentment on 
our moonshee's face when we told him to order 
boats for our journey up stream to Islamabad. 

We now discarded the boats in which we had 
lounged about the environs of the city, and hired 
in their place large barges big enough to carry 
self, bed, baggage, and servants — of these we had 
one a-piece ; the moonshee and his men another ; 
and Ali Bux, with his pots and pans, " khit- 
mutghars," and the rest of the servants, followed 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 293 

in two more. It was quite a little fleet, and our 
Ladakhi coolies, relieved of their loads, marclied 
up the river bank beside us. Our progress was 
slow, for we were towed up the stream by drag 
ropes, harnessed to two or three men ; but for 
people not in a hurry, and blessed with a climate 
such as that of Kashmir, it was the perfection of 
lazy travelling. It is seldom that it falls to one's 
lot to enjoy such perfect repose, such freedom 
from care, as on board one of these barges ; one's 
sensations are precisely those, I imagine, of an 
infant in his cradle rocked by a kind but deter- 
mined mamma ; so long as you let her rock the 
cradle or pull the tow rope, as the case may be, 
and are content with the narrow precincts of your 
temporary abode, you are in all other matters the 
monarch of all you survey. If you want con- 
versation you can hail a friend's craft, for we keep 
close together ; if solitude, you can be deaf to his 
talk, should he be garrulously inclined, and read, 
write, draw, or sleep at your ease, for the boat is 
steady as a rock, and hardly a sound disturbs the 
completeness of the quiet around. 

These barges are similarly arranged to the 

294 Travels in Ladalc^ 

boats we hired to explore Sreenuggur in; tlie 
centre, with all its breadth of beam shaded by an 
awning, is reserved for the traveller, and fore and 
aft are the boatmen or boatwomen, as the case 
may be. My crew consisted of sailors of the 
latter sex, and the privacy of my cabin was often 
invaded by an urchin, who was always clam- 
bering over the partition and otherwise misbe- 
having himself, thereby at times seriously dis- 
turbing my repose and exciting my wrath ; but 
mamma always begged him off so ably, that the 
little rascal more than once received " back- 
sheesh" for his intrusion. She was so handsom.e 
— a gipsy face, perfect in its outline, but weather- 
beaten, and deeply marked by constant exposure 
— young, indeed, in years, but already a matron 
in appearance ; her complexion gave the strongest 
proof of the fairness of the Kashmirees, inasmuch 
as it was freckled by the sun, and her cheek 
glowed with the " imbrowning of tlie fruit," 
contrasting with the white of the brow which her 
long black hair had shaded. 

And now let me employ this hour of ease in 
telling my readers a few matters of which I shall 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 295 

not have an opportunity of speaking when once 
marching begins again. I have as yet said 
nothing about the chmate of Kashmir, but little 
of its inhabitants, and not one word about its 
government. I am bent on boring you, reader, 
but give fair warning of my intentions ; so skip 
the next few pages if you will. 

The valley of Kashmir is about 5000 feet 
above the level of the sea, but the climate is not 
so cool as might be expected at such an altitude. 
In September, the weather is what English 
people would call relaxing, — like a Devonshire 
summer ; and in June and July it is at times, I 
am told, very hot ; but wood, and water, and the 
snowy peaks that gird the valley in, alike con- 
spire to cheat the sojourner into the delusion that 
it is not so. There is a Persian proverb, a quaint 
paradox enough, but which expresses the same 
idea in terser language — 

" Gurmusli nah gurm ast ; 
Surdush nah surd ast." 

" Heat there is, but hot 'tis not ; 
Cold there is, but cold 'tis not." 

In the winter, the hills around are covered with 

296 Travels in Ladak, 

snow, and it lies in the valley itself in January 
and February. The shooting at this season must 
be unrivalled — bears, leopards, deer, &c., all find 
their mountain haunts too cold, and seek the com- 
parative warmth of the valley, and as native 
shikarees told us, actually mob the villagers. This 
somewhat startling statement, though doubtless 
a grossly exaggerated one, has yet a fair basis of 
truth to rest on. The magnificently antlered 
" bara-singa," or " stag of twelve tyne," may be 
shot close to the habitations of men; and the 
smaller species — the antelope and musk-deer — are 
equally daring in their approach to the haunts of 
their natural enemy. As to bears they must 
literally swarm, for during the fruit season the 
black bear abounds in the valley itself ; and when 
food becomes scarce, the high lands too cold, and 
he is joined by his brown brother of the moun- 
tains, their number must be formidable indeed ; 
but though thus numerous, it does not follow that 
Bruin will help to fill the bag of the sportsman in 
winter, for at this time of year he retires from the 
world, and hybernates in complete seclusion. At 
this season, liowever, wlien Kashmir would be a 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 297 

paradise to the Britisli sportsman, the valley is 
forbidden ground. 

It seldom happens that official people in India, 
and here all are officials, either of the sword or 
pen, can get leave of absence in the winter 
months. Nor, indeed, would it often be applied 
for could it be obtained, for leave in winter would 
debar the possibility of leave to enjoy the bracing 
air of the " hills" in the heats of summer. But 
when the " stamp of the iron horse" resounds 
through the length and breadth of the land, when 
Calcutta and Mooltan are connected with Lahore 
by a line of rail, and facilities for rapid travel in- 
crease, as day by day they are increasing, we may 
reasonably expect that the British possessions in 
India will cease to be a terra incognita to the 
tourist ; and that the lakes and rivers of Kashmir, 
and the mighty chain of mountain and valley 
from Darjeeling to Murree will be visited by 
adventurous sight-seers, much as Switzerland is 
now. Of these travellers, the pioneers will 
doubtless be sportsmen, and it is to be hoped that 
the pressure from without which their advent 
will cause, will have the effect of doing away with 

298 Travels in Ladah^ 

the absurd restrictions now laid down by the 
Maharajah of Jumnoo, on all the approaches to 
the valley save two or three, and also with the 
prohibition he has thought fit to put in force 
against the winter residence of Europeans in 

The people of Kashmir are a much-abused race 
— dishonest and mendacious, vicious and un- 
trustworthy, sullen and disobliging, thieves, ex- 
tortioners, no word is too bad for them ! — and, 
strange to say, this is the general opinion formed 
of them, not only by the English visitor to the 
valley, who is no doubt looked on by them as fair 
game, but by the natives of the surrounding 
countries, by their own rulers, and by themselves. 
Talk to a Kashmiri on the subject of his coun- 
trymen, he will speak of them with abhorrence, 
warn you against having aught to do with them, 
apparently forgetting that he too is of the race 
he would taboo. The Dogra Dewan abuses the 
Hindoo Pundit, and vice versa; through all ranks 
of society extends this amiable feeling of mutual 

"What everyone says must be true, to a certain 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 299 

extent, and I fear that in this sweeping con- 
demnation of the Kashmir character there is a 
large leaven of truth, but it is unjust thus to 
condemn them, without endeavouring to account 
for this moral degradation of a race so admirable 
in its physique, inhabiting a country so blessed by 
nature with beauteous scenery, wondrous fertility, 
and a glorious climate. 

There is a native proverb, far from compli- 
mentary to the inhabitants of the happy 
valley — 

" Agar kuht-ool-rijal ooftad, az eshan oons kum geeree, 
Eki Afghan, doum Kumboh, seuni badzat Kashmiri j" 

which, may be rendered — 

" Should fate decree a dearth of men, 
Then, friend of mine, beware ye 

Of Afghan — Kumbo, scoundrel too. 

But worst of all, do thou eschew 
That ill-bred knave Kashmiri !" 

There is no doubt that they were originally of 
Brahmin origin ; and prosperous must have been 
the people — wise, beneficent, and energetic the 
rulers — -in those old days, if tradition and legend 
are to be believed, and the mighty monuments of 

300 Travels in Ladak^ 

a past grandeur, long anterior to the days when 
Mogul wealth and taste embellished the valley, 
are to be looked on as faithful witnesses ; but 
to this golden age succeeded centuries of op- 

Little is known of the past history of this 
people till the year 1315, when Sheems-ood-deen 
ascended the throne, and introduced Mahomme- 
danism. In 15S6, Akbar, the Mogul emperor, 
conquered the country; in 1752 it was subju- 
gated by the Afghan, Ahmed Shah, and in 1819 
by the Sikhs. Each succeeding race of con- 
querors seems to have pulled the reins of despotic 
rule and unjust taxation tighter and tighter, till, 
in 1846, after the Sutlej campaign, Kashmir was, 
under our auspices, handed over to the tender 
mercies of Ghoolab Singh, " in consideration of 
a pecuniary equivalent," to be his in independent 
succession ; and its sovereignty is now a " source 
of weakness rather than strength to the great 
crovernment which sold five millions of men for 
so many bags of silver."* 

Poor Kashmir ! when, after so many vicissi- 

* Vide Calcutta Beview, Punjab Reports, 1859. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 301 

tudes of slavery to a foreign yoke, the hand of a 
powerful, just, and merciful Government acquired 
the territory by force of arms in fair fight, and it 
seemed that at last its condition was about to 
be ameliorated, its old ill-luck stuck by it still ! 
That hand had an itching palm, and they were 
again sold into the hands of the Philistines. The 
last state of that country was worse than the 
first, for Grhoolab Singh went far beyond his pre- 
decessors in the gentle acts of undue taxation and 
extortion. They had taxed heavily, it is true, but 
he sucked the very life-blood of the people ; they 
had laid violent hands on a large proportion of 
the fruits of the earth, the profits of the loom, 
and the work of men's hands, but he skinned 
the very flints to fill his cofiers. 

We must therefore not be too hard on the 
Kashmiri ; his faults are those that oppression 
fosters, and his virtues, for he has some, are his 
industry, his religious toleration, his observance 
of family ties and obligations, while for qualities 
of head and hand he is second to no Eastern 
race. As artificers, the pale, slim, sneaking 
denizens of the crowded lanes of Sreenuggur will 

302 Travels in Ladah^ 

compete with any in the East ; and the sturdy, 
broad-shouldered, large-limbed peasant is a pains- 
taking and successful husbandman. 

Amongst the many changes of masters which 
Kashmir has undergone, one class of men appear 
not only to have retained the religion of their 
Brahmin forefathers, but also a high position 
among their fellows. I allude to the Kashmiri 
Pundits — men of lengthy pedigree, of wealth and 
influence, who, thanks to their superior educa- 
tion and fitness for business, were largely em- 
ployed by their successive conquerors, placed in 
posts of trust, and seemingly exempted from the 
forcible conversion to the creed of Mahommed, 
which was universally imposed on their country- 
men. " Believe or die," such the motto of the 
Moslem Society for Promoting the Knowledge of 
the Prophet. 

No Englishman can leave Kashmir without a 
sigh of regret that a province so full of promise 
should ever have been allowed to slip through our 
fingers. It would now have owned us as its 
rulers for near upon twenty years, and we should 
have benefited by tlie acquisition as much as, I 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 303 

hope, the people would have been bettered by our 

What a station for troops! An army, if 
wanted, might be quartered here, and the valley, 
as it slopes upwards to the surrounding hills, 
would afford numberless sites for sanitaria of 
various temperatures and aspects. 

The reign of the present Maharajah Eumbeer 
Singh, the son of the rapacious Ghoolab Singh, 
is marked by an evident wish to govern wisely ; 
but he is still surrounded by advisers of the old 
regime, who use their influence " not wisely, but 
too well no doubt, however, great improve- 
ments have been effected. An intelligent native 
ofiicial at Sreenuggur told us, that whereas the 
father had been " greedy of pelf, and pelf alone," 
the son, though quite conscious of the advan- 
tages of a huge exchequer, was " hungry after 
organization" (" sherista-ki-bhooka"). 

There was one circumstance of frequent occur- 
rence during our wanderings in Kashmir, which 
would seem to argue an independence of feeling 
on the part of the people, and a disregard for the 
" powers that be," strangely at variance with the 

304 Travels in Ladak^ 

demeanour of men ground down and oppressed, 
and groaning under a heavy yoke ; and that was 
the difficulty we experienced, not only in pro- 
curing coolies to carry our baggage, but also in 
making them work when they at last appeared. 
Often were our loads left in the middle of the 
path during a march by these truculent rustics, 
who would be off and away through the jungle 
into the tangled shade of the forest, with so 
fleet a foot as to baffle pui'suit, regardless of 
the pecuniary loss their flight occasioned to 
them, for there was of course no day's pay for 
the runaway. 

It was not that our burdens were heavy, on 
the contrary ; or that the men were weak and 
unable to carry weight, — they were stout fellows, 
of athletic build and muscular limbs, and for 
carrying a paltry burden for a few miles would 
receive a high rate of wages. Yet they often 
preferred toiling under it for half the distance, 
and then bolting without being paid, to under- 
going a little more labour with a certainty of 
reward for it. Now, we travelled with an agent 
deputed by the Maharajah to attend to our 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 305 

interests, were guarded by liis soldiers, and one 
of our number was a civil officer of distinction ; 
we marched, therefore, as it were, under the 
shadow of that rod of iron of which we heard 
so much, but which, when put to the test, seemed 
powerless to enforce obedience. 

With the exception of the Pundits before 
mentioned, the Kashmiris are all Mahommedans ; 
and the difference of creed between them and 
their Dogra rulers does not serve to lessen the 
unpopularity of the dominant race. Eumbeer 
Singh is a strict Hindoo ; his favourite wife is 
" serious," and her influence over her lord and 
master is increased by the fact that his only 
children — two sons — are by her. Kashmir is 
literally overrun by Hindoo faqueers, detested 
by the people they prey upon, but supported and 
encouraged by the Government, and their num- 
bers are rapidly increasing. Their appearance is 
loathsome in the extreme, and they are generally 
to be seen stalking about, or basking in the sun, 
stark naked, their long hair matted with filth, 
and their bodies smeared with wood-ashes. This 
state of things accounts for the neglect and 


306 Travels in Ladah^ 

dilapidation visible in all the Mahommedan 
buildings in the country ; while on every side 
Hindoo temples are being erected. Hindooism 
has invaded the Tuhkt-i-Suliman itself; and 
there, on the very site of a Mahommedan shrine, 
has it erected a place of worship. 

The food of the Kashmiri consists mainly of 
rice and fish ; and a recent order of the Maharajah, 
forbidding the people to catch fish or to use them 
as an article of consumption — an order which, if 
carried out in its integrity, would result in actual 
starvation to many thousands — is an instance of 
the height of folly to which a weak mind, awed 
by superstition and swayed by priestcraft, can 

When a man (Hindoo) dies his troubles begin ; 
should he die insolvent, his soul transmigrates 
into the body of an ass, doomed to bear burdens 
and be kicked and buffeted through life ; should 
he have been, when in human form, a miserly 
hunks, avaricious and niggardly, usurious and a 
dun, he becomes a misletoe-bough — a parasite 
that sucks the blood of the tree that gives it a 
branch whereon to fasten (for such is the misletoe 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 307 

in the Oriental train of thought — to him the 
misletoe suggests no reminiscences of wine and 
wassail, of merry Christmases and stolen kisses). 
Such the belief inculcated by the Pundits, who 
further profess to be able to divine into what 
animals, vegetables, &c., the soul of a deceased 
man successively passes. 

Now Ghoolab Singh, instead of becoming a 
misletoe, as he richly deserved, was turned after 
death into a bee — so said the Pundits ; a decree 
went forth in consequence throughout the length 
and breadth of the land, that bees were hence- 
forth sacred and must not be destroyed (whether 
the eating of honey was also forbidden I am not 
prepared to say). But this bee, though endowed 
with the soul of the deceased monarch, lacked his 
wary shrewdness ; for one hot summer's day, 
when buzzing languidly on the surface of a cool 
stream, he was snapped up by a hungry fish — 
poor insect Jonah ! But the soul of Ghoolab 
could not die, and therefore now inhabited a 
scaly tenement. The Maharajah's papa was a 
fish ! ! ! 

The result of this vile priestly fabrication was 
X 2 

308 Travels in Ladak^ 

the prohibition of fish as food ; for the pious son 
was fearful lest some irreverent Moslem hook, 
with sacrilegious bait, should lure this royal fish — 

" Great Ghoolab's self now turned to fish, 
Might haply form a dainty dish 
For fisher man or boy;" 

a catastrophe that would sadly interfere with the 
future transmigrations of that restless spirit. 
Fancy the orthodox soul of a deceased Maharajah 
dwelling in the heretic body of a Mahommedan 
fisherman. What would become of the Moslems 
soul? Would it object to the intrusion, or 
fraternize and amalgamate with the new comer ? 
It is a difficult question, and one which I suppose 
puzzled the Pundits ; so they decided on pre- 
venting the possibility of their having ever to 
answer it, and thenceforth it was not lawful to 
eat fish ! 

Our boatmen were wont to be most facetious 
on this subject. 

The Kashmiris, rich and poor, are passionately 
fond of tea, which reaches them, as it does the 
Eussians, by land transport from China direct. 
The " semavar," or Russian tea-urn, is a com- 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 309 

mon article of house furniture; and when I 
questioned them about it, they acknowledged 
that its shape had been imitated from a Eussian 
model brought by some travelling merchant years 
ago from the north. This " dodge" for keeping 
tea hot had evidently impressed them with a 
great respect for the Muscovite ; and they may 
be said to imbibe with each cup of comfort a 
spice of Russian influence. Muscovite intrigue 
may lurk in the aroma of each domestic teapot ; 
and methought the very hiss of the steaming 
" semavar" breathed a covert warning, prophetic 
of the future. 

Another piece of furniture in common use, and 
one which our boatmen said was also an article of 
foreign introduction, was the " kangri" — a little 
earthen vessel encased in basket-work, and filled 
with live charcoal : this all who can afford it are 
in the habit of carrying about with them, for its 
warmth's sake, in the winter months, hooking it 
on to their persons under their long wrappers. 
This is a practice which, Moorcroft says, "in- 
variably discolours and scars the skin, and not 
unfrequently occasions palsy." 

310 Travels in Ladak, 

The Italians have a precisely similar custom ; 
and it is quite possible that it may have been 
introduced into Kashmir by one of those Jesuit 
priests who were the first European wanderers in 
these parts ; or that, vice versa, the Italian priest 
may have introduced the Kashmiri custom into 
Italy on his return. 

Our boatmen were possessed of vague notions 
of a happy time, long, long ago, when the men 
were all brave, hardy, and warlike, the women all 
virtuous. " The Kashmiri," said they, " wore 
short clothes then, and had no ' kangri but now, 
weak and efieminate, he wears a long wrapper, 
like a woman, and crouches for warmth over an 
earthen pot." 

But all this time we have been progressing 
slowly but surely up the sluggish stream. The 
sun has set, and the little fleet comes to anchor. 

With the first glimmer of daylight we are in 
motion again ; and when we awake, the place of 
our anchorage is far behind us. Early in the 
afternoon we reach a bridge similar to those of 
Sreenuggur ; the sides of the river are thronged 
with boats, and the banks with people. We have 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 311 

reached Islamabad ; and leaving our boats, walk 
to the town, situated about half a mile from the 
river. We pitch our tents in a small walled 
enclosure, planted with giant plane-trees, and 
through which flows a clear stream full of fish ; 
over it are built summer-houses, humble imitations 
of those of Shahlimar — our " lines have fallen in 
pleasant places." 

We purchase a few of the patchwork carpets, 
for the manufacture of which the town is famous ; 
dine in one of the cool summer-houses ; and so 
to bed, full of virtuous resolutions to start on 
our march betimes on the morrow. 


Travels in Ladak^ 


EOM Islamabad to 
TJchibal, our next 
halting-ground, was only 
about three miles as the 
crow flies (when it flies 
straight), and as a tra- 
veller indiflerent to siorht- 
seeing would walk, but 
the sacred shrine of Mut- 
tim, and the famous 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 3J3 

ruins of Martundh tempted us to make a detour, 
which turned our three miles into six or seven. 

We breakfasted at Muttun, just outside the holy 
precincts of the shrine, on the banks of a pleasant 
watercourse which flowed through the courtyard 
of the saintly building, and although its waters 
are continually employed in cleansing, not only 
from the spiritual stain of sin, but also from the 
more material mire of weary travel, a countless 
number of pilgrims, the little stream dances along 
merrily under the cool shade of the trees whose 
youth it helped to mature, and whose " green old 
age " it now still tends, with a sly little gurgling 
laugh, as though absolution was the best fun in 
the world, unsaddened by the weight of sin and 
sorrow it bears away, undimmed by the dust it 
washes off. 

Our Hindoo servants were at once pounced 
upon by a crowd of hungry Brahmins, summon- 
ing them to "wash and be clean;" it was some 
time, however, before a bargain was struck. Our 
people wanted to do their cleansing cheap, to pay 
in a lump, to take a family ticket, as it were, for 
the performance ; but this very praiseworthy and 

314 Travels in Ladak^ 

economical desire on their part was fiercely com- 
bated bj the priests, whose threats and exhorta- 
tions eventually gained the day. They made a 
very good thing out of our party, with the one 
exception of Nurput; to judge from the unfriendly, 
not to say stormy conclusion of his interview 
with the priests of Muttun, T have every reason 
to fear that that big-fisted reprobate "bilked'* 
his father confessor ! 

The temple itself is a small building of mean 
appearance, and the only point of interest it pos- 
sesses for a European tourist is the reservoir in 
the centre of its little courtyard ; this is almost 
as full of fish as it is of water. Imagine a barrel 
of red herrings, packed as herrings in a barrel 
usually are, with its well-salted contents sud- 
denly brought to life again, all trying to get out 
of the barrel, and you can form a very tolerable 
idea of the fish at Muttun — wriggling, shoving, 
clambering (a fact) on each other's backs, in their 
eagerness to snap up the morsels of parched grain 
we pitched in to them. This reservoir is fed by 
the little stream we have before mentioned, which 
finds an outlet over a sort of weir : down this it 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 315 

rushes with great rapidity, glad to leave so fishy 
a neighbourhood, and woe to the fat carp that 
incautiously allows himself to be drawn within 
the current's influence, flounder, flap, and struggle 
though he may, down he must go — down into 
the outer " world of waters cut off for ever 
from the cloistered cool of his shady tank, from 
the quiet society of his clerical associates, he'll 
have to work for his daily bread now, for no one 
will pitch him parched grain, or lumps of flour, 
unless indeed with a barbed hook in them, to aid 
his digestion ; and oh, ye gods and little fishes ! 
how his lay-brothers will bully the gorbellied old 
sinner when they catch him. 

Here, too, was a " Visitors' Book," in charge 
of the Head Brahmin, containing the signatures 
of all the white excursionists who had found their 
way thither for years, mingled with those of dusky 
pilgrims of note. Among the former were those 
of many of our fair compatriotes, for annually is 
Kashmir the resort of an adventurous few, who 
sensibly prefer the delights of " roughing it" in 
pleasant company — the glories of its scenery, and 
its freedom from " crinoline " — to the gossip and 

316 Travels in Ladah^ 

moming calls, the effervescent scandal and flat 
gaieties of a Hill watering-place. 

Our path led up a steep ascent for about three 
hundred yards on to a long, narrow plateau, which 
stretched out into the valley, and at the extremity 
of which were the ruins crowning the declivity, 
which sloped in a graceful sweep down to the 
level of the vale below. 


Though antiquaries assign to Martundh a date 
nearly as far back as the Christian era, its mono- 
lith pillars, massive walls, and imposing gateways 
still remain firm amongst the scattered debris that 
extend all along the plateau, showing that once 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 317 

upon a time a busy city stood there. Thanks to the 
enormous size and weight of the blocks and slabs of 
stone of which it is built, Martundh has resisted not 
only the slow march of time, the sudden shocks 
of earthquakes, but also the efforts made by man 
to sap its foundations ; for so noble a monument 
of Hindoo greatness could not fail to be an eye- 
sore to the modern conquerors, who plied the 
pickaxe in vain, and found fire of no avail against 
its solid strength. 

The people of the country attribute these ruins 
to the Pandus, the favourite princes of the heroic 
age of Hindoo history, whose exploits and wars 
with the rival family of the Kurus constitute 
the main subject of the great Sanskrit epic, the 

We lingered here till the sun was high in the 
heavens, and then strode down the slope across 
the valley to XJchibal, where we found our camp 
ready pitched. Uchibal was the scene of many 
an imperial merry-making in the good old days 
of Mogul rule, of Shah Jehan and Jehanguire : 
now the gardens are desolate and neglected, a 
tangled desert of weed and briar ; but the stream, 

318 Travels in Ladak^ 

like a true philosopher, flows on calmly and con- 
tentedly as ever ; his low murmurings utter no 
complaint, no regret for the pomps and vanities 
that are no more ; they are rather, as it were, the 
gentle purring of a spirit at peace with itself, and 
inclined to be the same with all the world ; wel- 
coming the solitude of to-day as a pleasing con- 
trast to the dust and noise, stir and bustle, and 
all the inconceivable nuisances of the imperial 
court of 3^esterday. It is a lovely spot, the lux- 
MYiance of an ever-present nature amply consoles 


the modern traveller for the want of the past 
hnimiousncss of Oriental art. 

We here provided ourselves with " shikarrees," 

Tartar and Kashmir, 319 

or native trackers of game, and sending the moon- 
shee with most of the tents and servants, and all 
the heavy baggage, by the direct road over the 
pass out of Kashmir, turned off to the left with 
a small "flying camp," intending to scale the 
wall of Nature's building that shuts in the valley 
by a different route, unfrequented by man, but of 
Bruin the brown, of the bear of the mountains 
a favourite haunt, at least so said the "shikarrees," 
and " pucha " Kashmiris though they were, they 
spoke truth. 

Pucka. I have used it at last, that word of 
Hindostanee birth and Anglo-Indian adoption, 
the delight of the old inhabitants, but the horror 
of new arrivals from home, who watch with very 
natural dismay the encroachments the tongue of 
the black has made on the tongue of the white, and 
who shudder at the enormous percentage of Hin- 
dostanee with which the Indian residents interlard 
their speech. It is bad taste, they say ; so tho- 
roughly Indian ; and they are right. They, 
however, little know how easily the habit is 
acquired ; and some few months after, you will 
hear these very people discoursing, unconsciously 

320 Travels in Ladak^ 

perhaps, but glibly, in the motley language, the 
novelty of which had so shocked them on their 
first arrival. 

There are of course some few exceptions to this 
general rule — I myself, for instance, reader ! I 
have been addressing you continuously for some 
hours, and till now you have not once heard the 
word "Pucka." 

"Pucka" is an adjective, and when applied to 
a road, it means that it is a metalled one ; when 
to a wall, that it is of solid masonry — no latli- 
and-plaster erection ; to a fruit, that it is ripe ; 
to a scoundrel or a Kashmiri, that he is an out- 
and-out one, &c. &c. It is diametrically opposed 
to everything that is " Brummagem," which, in 
the mouth of the Anglo-Indian, would be called 
" kutcha ;" for " kutcha " is the antipodes of 
" pucka." But " pucka " has many other mean- 
ings, and is used as an expletive, when the Anglo- 
Indian wishes to be particularly impressive ; for 
instance, his 2^^^ote(/e is a "pucka fine fellow." 
Combinations, too, can be made of tlie two words, 
and it is possible for a man or a tiling to be 
" pucka-kutcha," or " kutcha-pucka," as the case 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 321 

may be ; but the meaning of this last barbarism 
I am unable to explain, and rejoice to say that it 
is not an epithet of frequent occurrence, its per- 
petrators being usually men of a bygone age, now 
rapidly dying out ; and whatever may be their 
after-fate, vs^e will hope that the place of their 
abode may be situate at a distance from that of 
the shade of Lindley Murray : to be sentenced 
to hear an eternity of lectures on solecisms made 
by them in a former state would be an awful 

I never use the word " pucka" without com- 
punction, for it ever calls up to my memory a hot 
evening in the courtyard of the King's Palace at 
Lucknow. A palanquin, with bearers ready to 
start, a wan and worn, yet handsome face, witli 
big, fever-lit eyes that looked beseechingly at me, 
and a feeble but earnest voice which said, as a 
slender hand wrung mine — "Good bye, dear 
fellow ; you are going to be foolish enough to 

spend some years in this country. Now, let 

me beg of you, let nothing ever induce you to call 
anything 'pucka,' and for Heaven's sake, old 
boy, never take beer to anybody else's wine ! !" 


322 Travels in Ladak^ 

These were the parthig words of a brother officer, 
who was then starting " homeward bound" in the 
autumn of 1858, for the doctors had said that 
nothing but the pure air of his native land could 
restore health to his enfeebled frame, worn out 
by climate, exposure, and the hardships of the 

Soap and Deuce were the names of our two 
next halting-places, names certainly in a manner 
appropriate, for to judge from the neutral tint of 
dirt that pervaded everything and everybody, the 
deuce of a bit of soap was there to be found in 

The track which we followed led us alone: 
pleasant little sequestered valleys, well- watered, 
and in parts well-cultivated — although the rich- 
ness of the soil is a premium on lazy husbandry — 
and shut in on all sides by low hills covered with 
dense forest. It was the perfection of sylvan 
scenery. After leaving Deuce, we began to ascend ; 
tlie valley rapidly narrowed ; sycamore, walnut, 
apple, and pear tree gave place to the lofty pine ; 
all trace of cultivation vanished ; and before us 
rose the steep sides of the mountain ridge on 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 323 

which, said our guides, we must halt that night. 
It was a steep and weary climb, but the scenery 
around was magnificent ; and ever as we ascended, 
the low hills beneath us dwindled into insignifi- 
cance, and no longer obstructed the view ; 
beyond them, as though at our feet, stretched 
the vale of Kashmir. 

Soon the pine-trees, even, ceased to shadow our 
path ; a belt of stunted birch-trees was all that 
remained between us and the bare hill-side : this 
passed, our climb was nearly at an end. We 
were now above the tree line, and to the right 
and left stretched the skeleton backbone of the 
ridge ; in front, a wall of rock rose almost per- 
pendicularly ; up this led the track we were to 
follow on the morrow, and beyond it lay the much- 
vaunted hunting-grounds. 

It was bitterly cold ; a keen wind sprung up 
— tents, coolies, and baggage were far behind, 
so we crouched under a fragment of rock, and 
gazed regretfully at the now far distant " happy 
valley," which shone like an emerald in the warm 
light of the evening sun, whose rays, alas ! reached 
not us. Soon, however, dim forms begin to appear 

324 Travels in Ladak^ 

wearily wending tlieir upward way through the 
birch-trees below us, and the welcome sound of 
the voice of Ali Bux, raised in wrath, strikes 
on our ear. In due course of time the 
tents are pitched and fires lighted, and at last 
dinner is announced to be ready by the mumbling 
voice of my khitmutghar, Busharat" (a name 
which, being interpreted, signifies " good 
tidings"), and never (methought on that occa- 
sion) was appellation more apt. 

The night was piercingly cold, and directly 
after dinner we turned in. I was roused from my 
first slumber by one of my " shikarrees," who 
came to tell me that if I would start with him a 
few hours before dawn he would show me no end 
of bears ; " but don't tell the other Sahibs," added 
the rascal, in a stage whisper. I grumbled a re- 
luctant consent, and turning round, proceeded to 
make the most of the few hours of sleep that 
were left me. Between two and three o'clock 
next morning I stole from my tent with a noise- 
less tread, and started with my three shikarrees up 
the rocky pass. It was freezing hard, and the 
moon threw a bright but deceptive light on our 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 325 

path. On reaching the summit, I almost for- 
gave my attendant Kashmiris for having waked 
me so soon, and the sluggard regrets I had been 
indulging in during the steep climb vanished, 
for — 

" Lo ! the ethereal cliffs 
Of Caucasus, whose icy summits shone 
Among the stars like sunlight, and around 
Whose caverned base" — 

rolled like waves the dark indistinct forms of 
rounded mountain ridges, mounting higher and 
higher, till they seemed to break in foam on the 
shores of perpetual snow. It was a scene of 
almost unearthly beauty. Never even on the 
clearest day have I seen the jagged peaks so dis- 
tinctly visible as on that night, when, crowned 
with stars and lit up by the moonlight, they 
stood out bold and prominent from their dark 
background of cloud. 

We now passed over a wide plain that sloped 
downwards before us into blue mist ; a scanty 
herbage covered it, and here and there a stunted 
bush grew, or a quaintly-shaped mass of rock lay 
half buried. We were getting very near the 
bear warren, said my guide. 

326 7 ravels in Ladak^ 

At last the sound of a small stream reached our 
ears, and now we must halt and wait for daylight. 
Thick clouds by this time obscured the moon, 
and cast a black shadow on all around ; two of 
the shikarrees laid themselves down and slept 
while the other kept watch, peering steadily 
through the darkness, and I paced briskly up and 
down in the vain endeavour to keep warm, and 
" longed for day." It seemed as though morn 
would never come ! At last, in the eastern hori- 
zon, a faint glimmer, which gradually stole along 
the snowy peaks, made its welcome appearance ; 
the sleepers are roused, and with cautious step 
and slow we move down towards the stream, 
which now, as it grows lighter, we can see mean- 
dering along below us ; big boulders of rock, and 
here and there patches of green grass, cover its 
banks ; it is on these patches that Bruin loves to 

We clumsily allowed ourselves to be heard or 
seen by the first bear we came upon, for he was 
shambling off at a canter, well out of shot ere we 
caught sight of him ; but we were afterwards 
more successful, and about eleven o'clock the 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 327 

whole party met at breakfast on the banks of the 
stream, very well satisfied with their sport, with 
the world in general, and with themselves and 
their rifles in particular. 

We pitched camp a few miles down the stream, 
and halted there next day, bent on making the 
most of our time. 

The number of bears that we saw during these 
two days was quite surprising ! On one occasion, 
when stalking a monstrous fellow who was 
grazing a few hundred yards away from me, I 
took advantage of a slight inequality in the 
ground, which hid me from him, to shoulder my 
rifle and run on towards him, keeping my eye 
fixed on the brow of the little rise before me, 
over which I every moment expected to see his 
big form appearing. Whilst running on thus, 
another bear rose from under my very feet ; I 
had literally kicked him up as one would a hare. 
He was fortunately quite as much startled at my 
apparition as I was at his ; evinced, I am glad 
to say, no wish to dispute my right to stand 
on his " native heath," and scampered ofi*, rolling 
and tumbling down the slope in ludicrous haste. 

328 Travels in Ladah^ 

I put a bullet into liim as he went ; but it bad 
only tbe effect of accelerating bis movements, 
and of frigbtening tlie bear I bad been bent on 
circumventing. And tbat same evening, wben 
obliged to leave off shooting, as I was at a 
distance from camp and night coming on, there 
were within sight of me no less than four bears, 
each peaceably feeding on his little patch of green 

On the same day, the " official friend," after a 
successful morning's beat, felt his old enemy, 
intermittent fever, threatening him, and wended 
his way back to camp, not a little disgusted at 
finding himself obliged to " lay up" at so inoppor- 
tune a moment. His relentless foe followed him, 
and folding him in an icy embrace, wrestled with 
him there, and threw him on his bed shivering in 
an ague fit. After a time this passed off, and 
the victim fell into a doze, from which an unusual 
stir in the little camp aroused him. " A bear, 
sahib ; a bear close to the tent ;" and crawling 
from under his blankets, he stalked and killed the 
animal within sight of camp. 

1 think I have said enough to show that our 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 329 

sport was not bad. The brown bear is hardly so 
large as his black brother, and much less fierce. 
We were none of us once charged by a wounded 
bear ; though more than once they turned round 
on us with angry intention, but never summoned 
up pluck actually to make a rush. Their colour 
varies from dark brown to almost a dirty white ; 
the skins are very handsome, and the fur is long 
and thick. All we shot were in capital condition, 
and the amount of bear's grease — which we left 
for eagles and carrion crows to fatten upon — 
would make the fortune of a hairdresser. 

We left the land of bears on the 23rd Sep- 
tember ; and crossing some high ridges, descended 
an interminable hill-side into a warmer climate, 
and halted eventually in a pleasant valley, close 
to a little village called Chind. We next day 
followed the windings of the valley, which were 
very beautiful, to the village of Mogul Maidan. 
During this march we had some good " chukor" 
shooting, and found teal in plenty near the 

From Mogul Maidan to Doda, where we found 
the rest of our camp awaiting us, is about thirty 

330 Travels in Ladah^ 

miles, to accomplish which distance took us three 
days. The path led us over a continuous suc- 
cession of lofty mountain ridges divided by deep 
valleys, and the whole covered with dense forest. 
From the summits of these ridges magnificent 
views of the snowy range are obtained. Of these 
the finest and most extensive is the one which 
shows you in mid distance, but far below your 
feet, the fertile valley of Kishtawar. From this 
the gaze travels up and up, higher and still 
higher, over range above range of mountain, 
some with scarped sides of grey granite, others 
of red sandstone, casting deeper shadows from 
their fissured and weather-beaten flanks; while 
others present a seemingly endless slope of dark 
pine forest. Here the eye would willingly linger, 
sated with the variety of beauty thus offered to 
its view, unconscious of the arctic world above — 
the glaciers and the snowy peaks which, clad in 
robes of virgin snow, soar like clouds in heaven's 
blue vault. 

The artist looks and looks in rapt and ever- 
increasing wonderment ; then searches for some 
object near at hand, by comparison with which 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 331 

to mete out, as it were, into a series of views, the 
stupendousness of the scene. Just below him a 
giant pine-tree, withered by fire, stretches his 
blackened trunk aloft, and waves his scathed 
arms in space like a Titan struck by a thunder- 
bolt from heaven ; lifeless, yet in death defiant. 
This shall be his guide ; this shall frame his 
panorama of height. Vain resolve. The top- 
most branch reaches not the base even of that 
ethereal fairyland of snow ; the pine-tree is just 
one world too short for his purpose. 

We had at first intended to pass through the 
city Kishtawah, and pay a visit to the veteran 
Baste Earn ; but the valley looked so hot, and 
the mountain breezes were so charmingly cool, 
that we took the upper road. 

Doda is a town of some size, built on the 
banks of our old friend, the Chenab. It pos- 
sesses a fort, in which are imprisoned some State 
offenders of royal blood, whose wives and families 
are, by a refinement of cruelty, permitted to 
reside in a house which is clearly visible from 
the prison, but to whom all communication with 
its unhappy inmates is denied. 

332 Travels in Ladak^ 

We crossed the Clienab next day by a swinging 
rope bridge ; and after an easy marcli of about 
eleven miles, halted in a beautiful valley covered 
with rice and corn fields, and orchards of pear 
and apple trees, intersected here and there by 
strips of as yet unreclaimed forest-land, jutting 
out from the dark belt of foliage that fenced the 
valley in. 

The town of Buddrawah — a place of some 
importance — was our next halting-place. It is 
picturesquely situated ; and the pears and apples 
grown in its gardens surpassed in flavour and 
excellence those of Kashmir itself. A conside- 
rable shawl manufacture is carried on here, but 
the goods are of a very coarse texture. 

The Puddree-Dhar Pass tried our powers of 
climbing next day; and the descent on the 
opposite side is very difficult walking. Three 
marches brought us to the banks of the Sion 
river — a stream of some magnitude; this we 
crossed by means of " deris," or inflated skins ; 
and on the opposite bank found a gay cavalcade 
awaiting us. The party proved to be some of 
the retainers of the Eajah of Chumba, a small 

Tartary^ and Kashmir. 333 

hill state, at whose capital we were to pass the 
night. His Eajahship, hearing of our approach, 
had sent horses to carry, and servants to escort, 
us with all due honour to his palace. 

The path was steep and narrow, and it was not 
without grave apprehensions that I mounted a 
fat, pink-nosed white steed of some sixteen hands, 
with tail and mane dyed red, caparisoned in 
native style, with a carcase like a dray horse, but 
w^ith the longest, thinnest, and most rickety legs 
that horse was ever cursed with. 

The catastrophe I dreaded soon occurred : my 
fidgety Bucephalus soon got a hind leg over the 
precipice, and after a vain effort to recover his 
footing, fell backwards down the steep hill-side. 
Fortunately for me, his brief struggle gave me 
time to slip off his back on to the footway, before 
he took such a very unpleasantly short cut to the 

After an ascent of some miles we descended 
into the valley of the Eavee, and marched up the 
risrht bank of that beautiful stream till the town 
of Chumba came in sight. 

The town is built on a rock, which towers to a 


Travels in Ladak^ 

great height above the river, and is connected 
with the mainland by two bridges of lengthy 
deodar beams; a broad paved road leads up to 
the plateau on which the town is built. It con- 
sists of about 1000 houses ; and a level green- 
sward, about five hundred yards long by eighty 
broad, has been left unbuilt upon in the centre. 
Here the young men and boys are ever playing 
"hockey,"* while the grey-bearded seniors sit at 

* Hockey ! The youth of Chumba play genuine hockey 
on foot, but the game as practised by their forefathers must 
have been a much more exciting one. — Yide Cunningham's 
Ladah, pp. 311, 312. 

" The favourite amusement of the Botis, both of Ladak 
and of Balti, is Polo, in which all parties, from the highest 
to the lowest, can take a part. I saw the game played at 
Mulbil, in a field 400 yards long and 80 yards broad, which 
was walled round for the purpose with a stone dyke. 
There were twenty players on each side, all mounted on 
ponies and armed with sticks about four feet long, and 
bent at the lower end. One player took the ball and a<l- 
vanced alone into the middle of the field, where he threw 
up the ball, and as it fell, struck it towards one of the goals. 
The goals were formed of two upright stones placed about 
twenty-five or thirty feet apart. When the ball was driven 
through a goal, one of the successful party was obliged to 
dismount and pick it up, for if the opposite party should 
have driven it back before it was picked up, the goal did not 
count. The game consisted in winning a certain number of 

Tartar and Kashmir. 


their sliop doors and look on. To tlie left are 
some Hindoo temples of great antiquity, and the 
Eajah's palace and gardens, which, though small, 
are tastefully laid out. We found tents ready 
pitched for us in these gardens, and at the request 
of our servants, who wanted rest, agreed to halt 
there the next day. 

Next day we paid a visit of ceremony to the 
Eajah to thank him for all his courtesies. He 

goals, either five, seven, or nine. Numerous musicians were 
in attendance, who made a most lively din whenever a goal 
was won ; and the noise was increased by the cheers of the 
successful party. 

" The game is a very spirited one, and well calculated for 
the display of bold and active horsemanship.* Accidental 
blows occur frequently, but the poor ponies are the principal 
sufferers. The game was once common in India under the 
name of Chaogan, but it is now completely forgotten. The 
old chaogan-grounds still exist in every large town in the 
Panjab hills; in Bilaspur, Nadon, Shujanpur, Kangra, Hari- 
pur, and Chamba, where the goal-stones are still standing. 
The game is repeatedly mentioned by Baber; but after his 
time it gradually became obsolete. It was introduced by 
the Musalman conquerors, and the very first king, Kutb-ud- 
din Aibak, was killed by a fall from his horse when playing 

* "It is well and tersely described by Vigne as 'hockey 
on horseback.' Mr. Thornton calls it ^cricket on horseback;' 
but it has nothing whatever in common with cricket." 


Travels in Ladak^ 

sent his own elephants to convey us in the most 
dignified (and uncomfortahle) way to his palace, 
and on arrival we were ushered up a dark, narrow, 
winding staircase, into a little plain whitewashed 
room, at the door of which we were met by a fat, 
uninteresting-looking boy of eighteen, w^ho in- 
sisted on shaking hands with us, and, to our sur- 
prise, kept his shoes on. It was the Eajah ! who, 
we were afterwards told, prided himself on his 
disregard for the formalities of Eastern etiquette ; 

at chaogan in a.d. 1210.* The Patban kings of India still 
continued to join in the game down to the time of Sikander 
Lodi, in a.d. 1498, when 'one day, while the king and his 
court were playing at chaogan, the bat of Haibat Khan 
Shirwani by accident came in contact with the head of 
Suliman, the son of Darya Khan Lodi, who received a 
severe blow. This was resented on the spot by Khizr 
Khan, the brother of Suliman, who, galloping ujd to Haibat 
Khan, struck him violently over the skull. In a few 
minutes both sides joined in the quarrel, and the field was 
in uproar and confusion. Mahmud Khan Lodi and Khan 
Khauan Lodi interposing, endeavoured to pacify Haibat 
Khan, and succeeded in persuading him to go home quietly 
with them. The king, apprehensive of conspiracy, retired 
immediately to the palace; but nothing more transpiring, 
he made another party at the same game a few days after.' "t 

* ''Briggs's Ferishta," L p. 199. t "Idem." p. 574. 

Tartar and Kashmir. ' 337 

the pert, awkward manner lie affected in tlieir 
place was as offensive as it was ludicrous. 

Our host then waddled back to his arm-chair, 
before which was a round table, laid out with 
paper, pens, ink, and a most business-like-looking 
despatch-box, and pointing to three chairs placed 
in a row on his right, asked us to be seated. 

The conversation soon flagged, for the Eajah 
was not amusing, till one of us, happening to 
look at his watch, the potentate grew suddenly 
loquacious ; watches seemed to he his hobby, and 
he examined ours and compared them with his 
own with great seeming interest. He could talk 
no language but his own, but told us that he 
regularly took in the English papers, and had 
them translated to him, thus obtaining, said he, 
intelligence of all that was going on direct from 

We asked to see one of his latest papers, and 
he handed us with great pride a Taranaki Herald, 
nine months old. His English news therefore 
came to him direct via New Zealand! 

From Chumba to Kangra took us five days. 
I was, I confess, disappointed with the Kangra 


338 Travels in Ladak^ 

valley; to a person coming from the plains it 
must be, no doubt, a very striking scene, but to 
the traveller who marches thither from Kashmir, 
its beauties — for it has many — seem very second- 
rate. The town of Kangra is without exception 
the cleanest, or, more properly speaking, the only 
clean Oriental town I ever saw. 

The fort is built on an oblong rock, isolated 
from, but commanded by, the surrounding heights. 
The Ben Gunga, " a river at all times breast 
deep," washes its base on three sides; on the 
fourth a deep dell divides it from the neighbour- 
ing mountain. It is well supplied with water, 
affords accommodation for a large garrison, and 
against an Oriental foe may be looked on as 

From Kangra to Simla, via Jowalli-mookhi* 
and Belaspore, but little occurred worth mention- 
ing. At the first stage we said good-bye to the 
Major, who started off by palanquin dak to the 
plains, and we pushed on by forced marclies, for 
we were pressed for time, to Belaspore. Here we 

* Jowalli-mookhi. — Vide Thornton's Gazetteer. Thornton 
spells the word Jewale-mvikh.. 

Tartary^ and Kashmir, 339 

recrossed the Sutlej, grown into a mighty stream, 
and lost poor Noura, who, while bathing in its 
waters, was swept away by the current and seen 
no more ; and on the 16th October, exactly three 
months from the date of our departure, the 
" official friend and I rode into Simla. 
Our happy holiday was over ! 




Extract from Memorandum drawn up by the order of 
Colonel A. Scott Waugh, Engineers, Surveyor- 
General of India, F.R.S., F.R.G.S., &c., on the 
Progress of the Kashmir Series of the G. T. Sur- 
vey of India; with Observations on the late Conquest 
of Gilgit, and other Incidental Matters, by Captain 
S. G. Montgomerie, Engineers, F.G.S., &c., in charge 
of the Series. 

With reference to my last memorandum on the great 
flood of the river Indus, I have not as yet been able to 
obtain any further information as to its origin, though 
the expedition against Gilgit has succeeded, as I antici- 
pated it would. 

The Maharajah has directed every inquiry to be made, 
and I hope to be able to give a correct account of the 

344 Appendix. 

origin of the flood when I return to the Maharajah's 
territories next year. Meantime, the expedition has con- 
firmed several important points in the geography of the 
countries near Gilgit, and a short account of the expedi- 
tion itself may be interesting. 

The Maharajah laid in a large supply of food at the 
forts of Astor and Boonjee during the summer of 1859. 
Hitherto, one of the greatest obstacles to making a 
successful attack on Gilgit has been the difficulties of 
getting supplies. The natives are in the habit of using 
the old expression, to the effect that a small force going 
against Gilgit was sure to be defeated, and a large force 
to be starved. To obviate this, a hundred ponies were 
put at each of the seventeen halting-places between 
Kashmir and Boonjee, via Gurais and Astor, and whilst 
the weather permitted, one hundred loads of grain were 
delivered daily at Boonjee. 

In June — July of this year, several detachments of 
Sepoys were moved upon Gilgit, mustering finally at 
Boonjee to about 4000 men, under Colonel Devi Singh 
and Colonel Dooloo Singh. The whole body then ad- 
vanced upon Gilgit, crossing the Indus by means of a 
boat; further on they crossed a tributary river by a 
wooden bridge. No opposition was met before reaching 
Gilgit itself, and there the Gilgities got inside their fort 
and held out for a short time, during which there was a 
little firing on both sides, ending by the Gilgities sur- 

Appendix. 345 

rendering, the Maharajah's force losing one man by the 
bursting of a gun, and the Gilgities leaving one dead 
man in the fort, supposed to have died a natural death 
durino^ the sieg^e. 

Having settled affairs at Gilgit, the force advanced 
further up the valley to Shirni (or Shirwat) fort, where 
there was some slio^ht resistance, ending^ as before in 
capitulation. The force then advanced on Yasseen, 
which is on the Gilgit river, and not on a separate 
tributary of the Indus. Yasseen fell into the hands of 
the force, and the son of the Goraman, who had held 
Gilgit in addition to Yasseen, made his escape over 
the mountains to the west and on into Badakhshan. 
The Goraman himself died during 1857. He was well 
known in the whole of the country between the Indus 
andCabul, and was generally called an Adamkhor, or man- 
eater, from a habit that he had of catching all strangers 
that he could, for the purpose of exchanging them for 
the large dogs so much prized in that part of the world. 
The Goraman and his son had till this year held Yasseen, 
and for a short time Gilgit also, though once or twice 
driven out from the latter by the Dogras. In addition 
to the main body of the Dogra force advancing from the 
south, an armed body of Baltis advanced through Shigar, 
and thence by the Nagar and Hoonza valleys, threatening 
Gilgit on the east. 

Another force was to have advanced from the west 

346 Appendix, 

under the instructions of an agent from Dheer and Chit- 
raulj but it was not apparently in time, though possibly 
the mere talk of it made the Goraman's son unhappy as 
to his line of retreat. 

This conquest, which may be said to have been made 
without loss of life, is highly creditable to the Maha- 
rajah, and his officers who planned and carried it out. 
The effects are, in some respects, likely to be very salu- 
tary. In the first place, the mere fact of having a force 
in Gilgit overawes and keeps in check the robber clans 
of Nagar and Hoonza, who have for years infested the 
roads between Balti and Ladak on the one side, and 
Yarkund on the other ; and latterly to such an extent, 
that those roads in their immediate neighbourhoods, 
though the shortest, have been almost completely closed 
to anything in the shape of a merchant. Keeping pos- 
session of Gilgit during the cold weather, when all com- 
munication with Kashmir is closed, has always been the 
most difficult business. The Maharajah has, however^ 
left nearly 3000 men in the valley, and consequently 
in future it is to be hoped that they will hold their own, 
and that the traffic from Skardo direct to Yarkund will 
again be resumed. 

In the second place, this successful expedition has had 
a very wholesome effect on all the petty tribes lying 
between Gilgit and the Cabul territories, and ultimately 

Appendix, 347 

may be of assistance in keeping the Swat valley in check, 
Swat being still one of the recusant tribes on our north- 
west frontier. 

At the durbars of the Maharajah during this season, 
men from Chitraul, Dheer, Swat, Kholi, Palus, &c., 
were in attendance, as well as those from Chilas, Nagar, 
and Hoonza, who have been constant attendants for some 

At the last durbar held by the Maharajah, Colonel 
Devi Sing made his salaam, having just returned from 
the Gilgit expedition. Some of the Yasseen men were 
introduced at the same time. One long brass gun, of 
about 3 lbs. bore, accompanied the Colonel, his Sepoys 
having taken it from the Goraman's son. This gun 
seemed to be well cast, and had a Persian inscription on 
it, to the effect that it was made in Budakshan, or had 
belonged to that place. Among the minor results of 
the expedition was a great influx of presents to the 
Maharajah from all the chiefs between Gilgit and 
Kafiristan. Perhaps the most valuable in the eyes of 
the Curator of the Asiatic Society's Maseam would have 
been a splendid live male specimen of the markhor, the 
greatest prize of Himalayan sportsmen. This animal 
was introduced into the full durbar, guided by four men 
with guy ropes. It was really a handsome animal, of a 
light fawn-colour, with a capital pair of horns, and a tiue 

348 Appendix. 

long beard. The top of the markhor's head was per- 
haps 5^ feet from the ground, the horns towering up 
above all the men in attendance. The keepers of this 
animal evidently held him in the greatest respect, though 
he had been a captive for at least two months. This 
markhor was a present from the chiefs of Kholi and 
Palus, on the Indus. 

The Chilasses sent in some very fine half-domesticated 
goats, a part of which the Maharajah distributed amongst 
the European visitors to Kashmir. One of these goats, 
now in my possession, has a very fine pair of horns of 
the markhor kind. 

The country on either side of the Indus, between the 
British district of Huzara and the Maharajah's valley of 
Astor, has hitherto been all but impassable. With Chilas, 
Kholi, and Palus all under the orders of the Maharajah, 
a very slight pressure ought to open out the remainder, 
down to the Huzara district, which might tend to bring the 
Akhoon of Swat to reason. At the same time, opening 
out the whole valley of the Indus is in itself no small 
advantage, if it will enable travellers to pass along in 

Traffic will undoubtedly increase, and, moreover, the 
Punjab Government will have the means of getting full 
information, in case the Indus should again be blocked 
up in any part of its course. In the latter respect, the 

Appendix, 349 

conquest of Gilgit, with Yasseen, Hoonza, and Nagar, 
is really very valuable, as it places under a friendly 
Native State the only great tributary of the Indus 
concerning which the British Government has hitherto 
been unable to get any reliable information. This tri- 
butary, moreover, is, in my opinion, the one on which the 
late great flood of the Indus was generated. 

If these countries are in thorough subjection to the 
Maharajah, such a calamity as the cataclysm of 1858 
ought not again to befal British subjects on the Indus, 
without their having, at any rate, full warning, even if 
it were not possible to prevent or mitigate it by the 
scientific application of labour, as it most probably 
would be. 




Letter from the Deputy -Commissioner of Simla to 
the Secretary to the Government of the Punjab, 
dated the IWi September, 1861, relating to the 
Murder of the late Adolphe Schlagentweit 

I HAVE the honour to report, for the information of 
his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, that I have at 
this moment in my possession the Journal of Mr. 
Adolphe Schlagentweit, who, his Honour doubtless re- 
collects, was so cruelly murdered at Kashgar in 1857. 
I have also what is alleged to be his skull. 

2. On my arrival at Leh in August last, one Mirza 
Abdool Wudud, a man of Herat, presented himself at 
my tent, and stated that in a caravan expected shortly 
at Leh from Yarkund there was a parcel to his address 
containing a manuscript book, which belonged to the 
gentleman who was put to death at Kashgar, as well 
as what he fully believed to be his skull. The Mirza 
represented himself to be entirely without funds, and 
despaired of ever recovering the parcel from the men 
in charge of the caravan. 

I lost no time in despatching the Mirza with a Tartar 

Appendix, 351 

servant of mine towards Yarkund, with instructions to 
take the parcel, paying for its carriage, and to follow 
me with as much speed as possible to Sreenuggur. 

3. About the eighth march from Leh they met the 
caravan. The persons in charge at first positively de- 
clined to give up the parcel; they then demanded 
two hundred rupees; eventually they agreed to take 
six gold mohurs, worth seventeen rupees each, all the 
money my servant had with him. The Mirza and 
servant at once started for Sreenuggur, which they 
reached with the precious parcel a few days after 

4. The Mirza's account of himself is that he left 
Herat about five years ago in consequence of the dis- 
turbed state of the town, and has been wandering ever 
since in the countries between Afghanistan and Yarkund 
in the guise of a Hakeem, or physician. At Bokhara he 
heard of the death of Mr. Schlagentweit. Aware of 
the value which would be attached by us to any books, 
papers, &c., belonging to the unfortunate traveller, the 
Mirza, on his arrival at Kashgar, set diligently to work 
to search for his property. For a long time he was 
unsuccessful, but about sixteen months ago he contrived 
to procure, through one Kurreem Khan, son- of a Moolla 
(or priest) of Kashgar, a manuscript book which a dealer 
in snuff had bought for the sake of the paper, which 

852 Appendix, 

he used in packing small quantities of snuff.* Some- 
thing less than one rupee was paid for the book. 

Not long: after, a cultivator informed the Mirza that 
after Mr. Schlagentweit was put to death, his head was 
first suspended over a bridge, and then placed in a tree 
under which he happened to grow melons, and that he 
buried it in his field. The Mirza dug up the ground, 
which was then covered with snow at the spot indicated, 
and found a skull. The Mirza is confident that it is 
really the skull of the murdered man ; but I am not 
very sanguine in the matter, and shall not be certain as 
to its genuineness till I have submitted it to a com- 
petent judge. The bookf contains 131 pages of closely 
written notes in the German language, and is Mr. Schla- 
gentweit's journal from the 14th of June to the 11th of 
August, the day he started from Kargalik, a village 
fourteen miles on the Ladak side of Yarkund. 

5. With regard to the manner of his death, the 
Mirza's account agrees in every material point with that 
given by Kashmiri Abdulla, and published in Messrs. 
H. and R Schlagentweit's printed Circular. 

On arriving near the city of Yarkund, Mr. Schlagen- 

* The Bhoj Putta or Birch bark is generally used by retail 

t I shall despatch tliis book by Ov^erland Mail to care of 
Messrs. H. and H. Schlagentweit's agents in London. 

Appendix. 853 

weit found it closely besieged by a robber chief or 
crescentader of Kokand named Dilla Khan. By this 
man Mr. Schlagentweit was made a prisoner. Almost 
immediately after Dilla Khan was compelled by the 
Chinese to fall back on Kashgar, also a Chinese town, 
but which had been occupied by another " crescentader" 
of Kokand named Khoja Vulli Khan, Mr. Schlagent- 
weit continued a prisoner in the hands of Dilla Khan, 
and was brought to Kashgar. On reaching a spot not 
more than two hundred yards from the tents of the 
Khoja Vulli Khan, one of Mr. Schlagentweit's guard 
went to inquire of him what was to be done with the 
"Feringhee." The Khoja, who is described to be a 
man of infamous character, at once ordered his execu- 
tion. The persons entrusted with this work endea- 
voured to bind Mr. Schlagentweit's arms, but this in- 
dignity he successfully resisted. A blow was then struck 
with a sword, which took effect under his right ear. 
Another was aimed at the left side of his head, but 
neither proving fatal his throat was cut with a knife 
which one of the executioners drew from his side. 
The head was then severed from the body and hung 
up over a bridge. 

The Khoja was soon after driven out of Kashgar by 
the Chinese, and is now wandering about a miserable 
drunkard without a single follower. 

A A 

354 Appendix. 

6. With reference to the above narrative, I think it 
right to mention that it does differ in one or two points 
from the account given by intelligent persons at the 
time residing in Yarkund. There the story is that 
Mr. Schlagentweit made friends with Khoja Dill a 
Khan, and offered to direct his operations against 
Yarkund, that he was forced to fly with the defeated 
Khoja, and that he was put to death by Khoja Yulli 
Khan for sitting before him in a disrespectful attitude.* 
My informant, the Mirza, however, states that Mr. 
Schlagentweit was never in the presence of Khoja 
Yulli Khan, while with regard to his directing the 
operations against Yarkund it is possible that he may 
have offered to assist Dilla Khan, but certainly not tiJl 
he was taken prisoner and saw that his life was in 

7. With respect to the chances of recovering any 
other articles, the property of Mr. Schlagentweit, I am 
of opinion that little or no hope can reasonably be 
entertained of any further success. The Mirza informs 
me that he left no stone unturned in his search at 
Kashgar, but never succeeded in obtaining the trace 
even of anything besides the book ; and this is, however, 
the less to be regretted, if it should prove true that 

* That is, wiili the soles of bis feet turned towards the Khoja. 

Appendix. 355 

Mr. Schlagentweit* sent all his journals up to the 14th 
June to Kangra. 

8. In conclusion, I have only to express a warm hope 
that Mirza Abdul Wudud will not be left unrewarded.f 
To his exertions we owe the rescue from destruction 
of a valuable manuscript, rendered doubly valuable by 
the tragic death of its writer, one of the boldest, most 
enterprising, and accomplished travellers of modern 

P.S. — I avail myself of this opportunity to state with 
reference to a repeated assertion to the contrary, which 
appears in the printed reports relating to Mr. Schla- 
gentweit's death, that I never to my knowledge saw 
Mahomed Ameer, and certainly never recommended 
him to Mr. A. Schlagentweit. I believe that he was a 
most useful and faithful servant. 

* Dr. Hurkishen states that he received a letter from Mr. A. 
Schlagentweit, dated the 14th June, 1857, in which he mentions 
having sent two Dak parcels for transmission to Kangra. (See 
printed circular.) The parcels never came to hand, nor does 
any inquiry appear to have been made respecting their fate. 
This is unfortunate ; even now it is not too late. 

(Signed) W. Hay. 

t Besides defraying the Mirza's expenses from Leh to Cash- 
mere, I have made him an allowance of a rupee a day from 
my private purse. He accompanies me to Simla. 

A A 2 



Letter No. 1961, dated ^\st September, 1861^ from 
Secretary to Government, Punjab, to Lord W. 
Hay, Deputy Commissioner of Simla. 

I am directed to acknowledge your letter of the 1 4th 
instant, and to convey the thanks of the Honourable 
the Lieutenant-Governor for your exertions in pro- 
curing the manuscript journal of the late Mr. A. Schla- 

2. His Honour authorizes a reward of 500 rupees 
being given to the Mirza on his arriving at Simla, in 
addition to his expenses being paid from the time he 
joined you at Leh, and sanctions the money advanced 
to the Mirza being reimbursed to yourself. You are 
requested to submit a bill for the whole amount for the 
counter-signature of this office. 

3. I am to add that a copy of your letter and this 
reply will be forwarded to the Supreme Government, 
with a request that they will communicate the same to 
the famil}^ of the late Mr. Schlagentweit at Berlin, and 
with a suggestion that your letter may be published in 
the Calcutta Gazette. 




The " Hindostan and Thibet" Road, commonly called 
the "JSTew Road," 

This is a noble, though unfinished work, and bears 
powerful testimony to the vigour and prescience of the 
Marquis of Dalhousie's Administration ; to its vigour, as 
being a striking proof of what engineering skill, un- 
thwarted by a false economy, can effect; to its pre- 
science, as being a manifest sign of the great commercial 
projects, in connexion with China, entertained by that 
able Governor-General of India. 

The present road was actually commenced by Colonel 
Kennedy, of the Royal army, aided by other officers, in 
the year 1850, although before this two other attempts 
to trace a road had been made under different auspices. 
Both these, however, were eventually abandoned, it 
being evident that the line taken by them was not cal- 
culated to combine the two great desiderata of hill 
roads — viz., (1) the avoidance of steep inclines ; (2) the 
avoidance of unnecessary detour, or the keeping as 
nearly as practicable to the direct line. The first of 
these requisites, indeed, they both succeeded in attaining 

358 Appendix. 

in a remarkable degree ; but of the second they appear 
to have lost sight altogether. The old Hill Road, 
despite its narrowness, despite its rugged descents and 
precipitous declivities, would have been preferred by the 
traveller — so preposterously long were the weary wind- 
ings of its scientifically laid- out rivals. 

The New Road, as it at present exists, reaches from 
Kalka, at the foot of the hills, to a few miles beyond 
Serahun, in the hill state of Bussahir, a distance of 177^ 
miles. From this point to Shipkee, on the western 
frontier of China — to which station the road was origi- 
nally intended to reach — is a distance of 93 miles ; one- 
third, therefore, of the great work remains uncompleted. 
The ground has been, however, surveyed, and the line 
of road partly traced. 

The events of 1857, the great mutiny year, put a stop 
to further progress, and since then Government has not 
thought fit to grant the necessary funds requisite to 
cover the expense of future operations. 

The road from Kalka to Simla is in many parts quite 
level, but in general rises at the slight incline of 1 foot 
in 83,* save in one place near Dugshai, where a ridge 

* " The maximum gradient observed was 1 foot in 30, at 
which about one-fifth of the distance was laid out ; over three- 
fifths of the distance a gradient of 1 foot in 33 was observed, 
and the remaining one-fifth remained level." — Vide Briggs 

Appendix. 359 

has to be surmounted. Here the ascent is compara- 
tively steep (9 feet in 100 feetj. 

This ridge Captain Briggs, successor of Kennedy, pro- 
posed to tunnel through, and actually commenced the 
work in January, 1855. It was continued till 1858 by 
him and his successors, but, owing to want of funds, 
progress since that year has been stopped. 

The total length of the Dugshai tunnel when com- 
pleted will be 1950 feet. 

On the north, or Simla side, 700 feet of tunnelling 
has already been completed, of which 240 feet is lined 
with solid masonry. On the south side, a length of 
400 feet has been excavated, leaving 850 feet of tunnel 
unfinished. The cost of this undertaking, as far as it 
has gone, has been 1627^. Ss. The distance saved by 
this tunnel, when completed, will be two miles, two fur- 
longs, and one hundred yards. 

There is also another tunnel on the Upper Road a 
few miles north of Simla. This is 560 feet in length, 
and is cut throug^h solid rock. 

There are branch roads to the military stations of 
Kussowlie, Subathao, and Dugshai, and at intervals 
along the road are commodious staging bungalows, or 
houses of rest, for the accommodation of travellers. 

The distance from Kalka to Simla by the Hindostan 
and Thibet road is 54 J miles ; add to this the branches 

360 Appendix. 

to Kussowlie, Subatboa, and Dugsbai, and tbe total 
amount of fair carriage road, from 14 to 16 feet broad, 
witb substantial parapets wbere tbe precipices are very 
abrupt, is 72 miles. Tbis was effected at a total cost of 
about 32,500L, including tbe expenses attendant on tbe 
erection of tbe staging bungalows. 

After leaving Simla, tbe road ceases to be available 
for carriages, and dwindles to a breadtb of 6 feet ; it is, 
bowever, mucb more level, and for ponies and otber 
beasts of burden, and for travellers, eitber on foot or 
borseback, is a most safe, as well as pleasant, means of 
communication witb tbe interior. 

From Simla to seven miles beyond Serabun is a 
distance of 123 miles; of tbis at least two-tbirds is 
perfectly level. It was constructed at a cost of about 
2o,000L, including twelve good staging bungalows. 

To give an adequate idea of tbe difficulties attendant 
on a work of tbis description, it is necessary to attempt 
to convey a notion of tbe sbape of tbe ground over 
wbicb a nearly level road bas to be constructed. 

Tbe Himalayas consist of a vast system of water- 
courses, or river-beds, now narrow and rocky, and again 
spreading out into small valleys, divided by spurs or 
ridges of bills, more or less broken or precipitous, wbose 
summits form tbe watersbed line of tbe numberless rills 
wbicb spring from tbeir sides, and wbose drainage feeds 

Appendix, 361 

them. These small spurs are offshoots again from larger 
spurs, which in their turn stretch out from mightier 
ridges still, from the giant ribs of the snow-clad back- 
bone, which they help to prop up. 

It is manifest, therefore, that in laying out a tolerably 
level road across this interminable succession of hill and 
valley, the idea of going straight must be abandoned, 
unless the employers of the engineer are prepared to 
meet the cost of a road consisting, with but few excep- 
tional intervals, of tunnel and viaduct, viaduct and 
tunnel. And for the same reason it becomes evident 
that one of the large ribs of mountain before mentioned 
must be selected as the base of operations. 

This was the plan adopted by Colonel Kennedy, and 
a ridge suitable to his purpose was discovered, which 
stretched out from the western extremity of the outer 
chain of the Himalayas, forming the watershed of the 
rivers Sutlej and Pubur, and reaching to the plains in 
the vicinity of Kalka. Along this ridge the road winds 
until the ridge itself ceases to preserve its identity amid 
the stupendous labyrinth of lofty peaks in which it loses 
itself ; and at this point it was found necessary to cross 
the Sutlej at Wangtoo, and take advantage of the 
valley of Kunawur as the line for further operations. 

So much for the theory of hill road-making. It need 
hardly be added that to put this theory in practice is no 

362 Appendix, 

easy task, but one which tries to the utmost not only 
the professional skill, but the physical strength and 
courage of the engineer, who must add to his scientific 
attainments the firm foot, cool head, and muscular power 
of the mountaineer — the mighty ridge along whose 
rugged sides he must lay out his road has not the com- 
plaisance to mount up gradually to the parent chain 
from which it springs at an easy incline and with a 
grassy slope — it, on the contrary, puts every possible 
obstacle in the way of the mathematical line he must 
trace — it is for ever changing its character, turning off 
to the right and left without apparent cause, and pre- 
sents a different elevation at every one of its windings. 
It is now of friable sandstone, and again of stratified 
rock — now it opposes masses of gneiss, now walls of 
granite, and again beds of argillaceous slate to his pro- 
gress — it is as capricious as a woman and as stubborn as 
a mule ! 

There are two ways of overcoming these obstacles — 
by excavation and blasting, or by simply going round or 
avoiding them. The former mode of operation being 
necessarily much the most expensive, the latter is 
almost invariably adopted, except when it happens to 
involve too great a deviation from the general direct- 
ness of the line ; and the consequence is, that the new, 
scientifically-planned Machiavelian line of level road 

Appendix, 363 

from Kalka to Simla is eleven miles longer than the old 
steep, up-hill and down -dale, simple-minded, cross- 
country mode of communication. 

A similar difference in length between the new and 
old road is observable beyond Simla ; the disparity of 
distance is not, however, quite so great, being only about 
twenty miles in the whole distauce of 123. 

The Hindostan and Thibet road is in excellent order, 
and is kept in thorough repair at a most trifling cost. 
The expenses attendant on keeping the carriage-road in 
a state of great efficiency have been for the last five 
years only 5Z. per mile per annum, including the neces- 
sary repairs to the numerous bridges and viaducts ; and 
the annual repairs to the road north of Simla have 
been carried out at a cost of only 21. per mile per 

I am indebted for the above facts to the kindness of 
Captain Houchen, who has for some years past held 
the responsible appointment of Superintendent of Hill 

The New Road, in common with all other projects, 
great or small, has its friends and its enemies, and is 
advocated by the one party as strongly as it is condemned 
by the other. 

The arguments pro and con may be summed up in 
a few words. 

364 Appendix. 

If your object is to effect a communication with China 
for commercial purposes, say the opposition, why go so 
far north ? Why not make DarjeeHng or Mussouri your 
starting-point ? Darjeeling is nearly equidistant from 
Calcutta, the metropolis of Bengal, and Lhassa, the 
metropolis of Chinese Tartary ; and the line which 
would connect these two capital cities in the most direct 
manner is surely the one to choose. Mussouri is cer- 
tainly more out of the way, and possesses in a minor 
degree the advantages of position which Darjeeling 
offers ; but a line via Mussouri, over the pass, would 
connect Delhi, one of the richest cities of the plains, 
with China, and is clearly preferable to one farther 
north, which, after winding its weary length across the 
mountain barrier of the Himalayas, debouches at a point 
on the borders of China, hundreds of miles away from 
the capital, Lhassa — a wild, scantily-peopled waste of 

The advocates of the line via Simla admit to a 
certain extent the truth of these objections; that is to 
say, they admit the simple geographical facts, but they 
deny the conclusions drawn from them ; they deny that 
a more direct communication with Lhassa would prove 
of advantage to trade. 

The staples of our commerce with Chinese Tartary 
are wool and borax ; and these articles come, not from 
tlie vicinity of the capital, Lhassa, but from districts 



hundreds of miles away to the north-west, from the 
wool-producing countries of Gartok and Rudok, and 
the salt lakes of Ladak — from the wild, scantily-peopled 
waste of steppe, in fact, which a road debouching at 
Shipkee would connect with Hindostan, not with Bengal 
Proper only, as would be the case with a line of road 
via Darjeeling, but with the populous provinces and 
busy cities of the north-west — with Umritsur, the 
Manchester of the Punjab — with Bombay, via the 
Indus and Kurrachee — and with England, via Bombay. 

And when to these arguments in favour of the Kalka 
and Shipkee route, is added the fact, that of its total 
length of 270 miles the whole has been surveyed, and 
177 miles of good road actually constructed, and that 
roads via Mussouri and Darjeeling have not been even 
commenced,* its most strenuous opposers must at least 
admit that it is worth while to continue the road to 
Shipkee, and so to test by actual experience the truth 
or fallacy of the views of its supporters — the utility or 
uselessness of the scheme. 

A. reference to the map will show that the wool of 

* The elevation of the mountain ridges over which a road 
via Mussouri or Darjeeling would have to cross, is so great 
that it is to be doubted whether such a line could ever be made 
available for traflSc. It would probably be only open for a few 
days in the year, whereas the Simla road never would reach a 
greater height than 14,000 feet, and would be open for four 
months certain every year. — Author. 

366 Appendix. 

Rudok and Gartok can be brought to Shipkee without 
entering the territories of the Bajah of Kashmir; this 
fact alone is sufficient to insure its reaching Shipkee, 
even if greater obstacles to its transit existed ; for in- 
demnity from the enormous way-dues exacted by the 
Kashmir government would amply compensate for the 
drawback of a slightly longer journey : indeed, it is more 
than probable that a large portion of the wool of 
Yarkund would find its way to Shipkee. 

The establishment of large fairs along the line of the 
New Road would greatly encourage trade — thither 
would flock in crowds the shawl-merchants of Noorpoor, 
Loodiana, and Umritsur, for then they could purchase 
in larger quantities and at a much smaller outlay than 
at present, that precious " jyushon" which now reaches 
them in a scanty stream, and with a value doubled by 
the imposts consequent on its enforced transit through 
Ladak. The fair at Rampoor, the capital of Bussahir, 
situate close to the line of the Hindostan and Thibet 
road, is even now a busy scene, despite the obstacles of 
mountain passes and unbridged rivers; and from this 
the conclusion may be safely drawn that the attendance 
at fairs established at different points along a level road 
in the same vicinity would be augmented proportionably 
as tlie facilities of communication were increased. Nor 
is this somewhat sanguine view of things Utopian — it 

Appendix. 367 

is simply the natural result of a good road, as has been 
proved by experience all over the world. 

A happier state of things as far as regards our 
political position with reference to China, is of course 
essential to the success of the Hindostan and Thibet 
road in a commercial point of view ; and the restrictions 
laid on traffic with us by that power must be removed ; 
but it is not until we have opened out a praccicable 
means of communication across the Himalayas that we 
shall be in a position to demand a concession which, 
without such means of communication, would be com- 
paratively useless. 

At present it would seem that we have sown and 
others have reaped — we have sown with a lavish hand 
the seeds of blood and treasure, and the Russians have 
gathered into their garners the ripe harvest of amicable 
intercourse and' peaceful interchange of commerce which 
we have failed to realize ! 


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DS Torrens, Henry D'Oyley 

4i^5 Travels in Ladak